Remembering the past can be extremely painful, especially when one’s addiction or a loved one’s addiction has caused a great deal of pain, shame and guilt within their lives. In order to protect themselves, people naturally shut down emotionally and work endlessly to avoid reality at all costs. There is a great illusion that living in a fantasy world is easier and more comfortable than living in reality. While living in this type of fantasy world, one allows their problems, resentments, fears and most importantly feelings, the perfect environment to boil up until eventually they explode. When all of the built up feelings finally explode, one is forced to face their fears and feel their feelings. In fact, one of the most important parts of one’s recovery is getting honest, not only with themselves, but also with reality. Distinguishing what is and what isn’t is a key part of one’s recovery process and until this distinction is made, one has very little hope of sustainable, long-lasting recovery.
Experiential therapy helps clients tap into their underlying issues that have remained unconscious for years such as unresolved conflicts and trauma, dysfunctional or abusive relationship patterns, repressed emotions, inadequate problem solving skills, poor communication skills, unmet needs and wants, etc. Experiential therapy allows clients to get in touch with their innermost desires, needs, wants and emotions. By looking deep within themselves in an open and honest manner, one will be able to see how all of their experiences have directly influenced their behavior, decision-making and the way in which they’ve reacted to the events (both good and bad) in their lives. It is by gaining this type of in-depth and thorough self-awareness that one can begin to address the reality of their situation and will have a greater chance of being successful in their recovery. Some of the experiential therapies we use at Hotel California By the Sea include psychodrama, EMDR, equine therapy, art and music therapy, and aromatherapy.