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There is an emotional journey that occurs during mental health and addiction therapy that is often overlooked by other treatment modalities. While many schools of thought will emphasize the need for an active support system or an intimate understanding of your past, many clients in recovery benefit from the self-discovery that comes from their personal journey throughout treatment.
Gestalt psychotherapy allows our clients at Avalon Malibu to break down each component of that journey and address several of the emotional concerns that have led to their addiction or simultaneous mental health condition. By uncovering your personal emotions and applying them to your present being, you will achieve self-awareness that enhances your wellbeing.
Our therapists at Avalon by the Sea, Malibu agree that Gestalt therapy is highly effective due to its holistic approach to mental health treatment. Therapists practicing Gestalt believe that all people, including its practitioners, are influenced by their environments, which impacts their decision-making abilities and thought processes.
The goal, then, is to help you understand the context of your emotions in the present moment to create self-acceptance and reduce stress concerning your current emotional state. We know that thinking objectively about your emotional wellbeing may be tough, especially at the beginning of treatment, but with gestalt therapy, you can take each emotion that you experience, when you experience it, and validate its presence immediately without a requirement that you reach a higher level of understanding first. You don’t need to focus on past experiences that have encouraged certain feelings; instead, you will discuss what present circumstances prompt your emotional responses. It’s through this immediate acceptance that will help you build a more positive sense of self.
Focusing on the present moment and the emotions that accompany it can ease the transition into addiction treatment and help you become actively aware of your feelings. When an addiction begins to form, it’s usually due to an inability to confront your emotions at the time. Instead of recognizing that you continuously feel sad or that you are experiencing feelings of emptiness, you may begin to compensate for these emotions by using drugs and alcohol. These behaviors are often compulsive, without much thought given to the reasons behind them, when in reality, they are a result of an underlying mental health disorder.
In a sense, you are attempting to meet your own mental health needs, but with destructive behaviors rather than fulfilling ones. Problems can arise, however, when adverse actions are what you automatically resort to in times of mental unbalance, which can eventually lead to addiction.
Gestalt therapy recognizes your desire to adapt to the stressful circumstances in your life and sees it as a form of creative thinking. With life’s constant changes, we all need to be flexible and adjust our lifestyles accordingly. While some of us can adapt, others attempt to through drugs and alcohol, but whichever avenue you choose involves some degree of creativity to come to that decision.
Your therapist will prompt you to acknowledge, head-on, the feelings that you were able to suppress through addictive behaviors. You will look at each emotion as it arises, work toward accepting it and move forward. By sitting with your feelings and confronting them, you are learning to accept who you are in your purest form. You can come to terms with your feelings and recognize that you don’t need drugs and alcohol to mask them. This kind of acknowledgment will give you the strength you need to maintain sobriety and mental peace outside of treatment at Avalon Malibu.
Confronting your emotions at such a direct level can feel uncomfortable at first, but as you continue to participate in treatment, and as you create a nurturing relationship with your therapist, you will build a stronger sense of self that has the desire to uncover your truth. Because Gestalt believes in a person’s use of creativity to cope with their environment, the treatment itself often uses creative techniques to address your emotions. Sessions are not heavily structured, which can feel freeing for some clients.
The approach that your therapist uses will depend on your personality and the context of your emotions, but we are consistent with our requirement that you have frequent interactions with your therapist. During each session, you will focus entirely on the emotions you experience and how you experience them. When a particular feeling surfaces, we will want to know why you think it appeared in the way that it did and what physical responses accompanied it. Analysis in this form helps you understand how your mind, body, and spirit interconnect and ultimately places you at the forefront of your recovery. All of this combined with an environment tailored to clarity, renewal and a personal balance will facilitate your mental health.
You can learn more about Gestalt therapy as well as our other treatment methods by speaking with a member of our staff. Contact Avalon by the Sea, Malibu at 888-958-7511 for a personal interview and to find out whether we are the right recovery center for you.