Closeup of a person writing in a notebook.

Expressive Writing Therapy for Emotional Healing

Expressive writing is an unbelievable device for managing addiction and other mental health concerns. 

It’s a unique form of therapy that guides you to express and understand your feelings through writing. 

When you put pen to paper, you can explore your thoughts and feelings in a secure and controlled habitat. This can have a deep influence on your mental wellbeing.

Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of expressive writing therapy!

What is Expressive Writing Therapy?

Expressive writing is a therapeutic practice involving diving into your feelings, thoughts, and experiences. Unlike regular writing, here’s what makes it unique:

  • It’s not about crafting a perfect story; it’s about letting your feelings flow naturally as if you were having a heartfelt conversation.
  • This type of writing allows you to delve into your deepest thoughts and emotions, providing a safe space to express what you might not feel comfortable sharing verbally.
  • It’s like embarking on a journey of self-reflection and introspection, allowing you to understand yourself better.
  • Typically, a therapist will guide you through the process, offering prompts and support along the way, just like a trusted companion.
  • Don’t worry about grammar or spelling; just focus on authentically expressing your emotions and experiences.

Mental Health Outcomes of Writing Therapy

Expressive writing offers numerous benefits for clients, especially for mental health outcomes:

  • Reduction in Negative Emotions: Writing about traumatic or stressful events can help decrease negative emotions and boost our psychological well-being.
  • Improved Mood: Engaging in regular expressive writing can enhance mood and overall emotional health.
  • Better Coping Skills: We can develop effective coping strategies crucial for addiction recovery by writing about our struggles.
  • Reduced Stress Levels: Expressive writing can lower stress levels, making managing cravings easier and preventing relapse.
  • Increased Self-awareness: This therapy assists in understanding our triggers and patterns, supporting our journey to recovery.

Types of Expressive Writing Therapy in Recovery

Different types of expressive writing can be helpful in recovery:

  • Poetry Therapy: Explore the power of poetry to express yourself, release emotions, and encourage self-reflection.
  • Narrative Therapy: Share your stories and experiences to gain a fresh perspective and make sense of them more objectively.
  • Scriptotherapy: Boost your coping skills and build confidence by writing scripts for hypothetical situations or engaging in role-playing.
  • Journaling: Make it a habit to write in a journal regularly. It’s a great way to keep track of your progress and gain valuable insights into your thoughts and emotions.

Expressive Writing Exercises 

Here are a few expressive writing exercises you can try:

  • Gratitude Journaling: Take a moment to reflect on what you’re grateful for. You can cultivate a more positive mindset by shifting your focus from negative thoughts and emotions.
  • Trauma Writing: Explore your traumatic experiences in writing, delving into the details. This practice can help you process and gain a better understanding of what you’ve been through.
  • Future Self-Letter: Pen a letter to your future self, sharing your hopes and plans for recovery. Detail your aspirations and vision for a brighter future.
  • Unsent Letters: Pour your heart out in a letter to someone who has hurt or caused you stress, but remember, don’t send it. This exercise allows you to process your emotions without confronting them directly.

Incorporating Expressive Writing into Your Recovery Plan

Sure, here are some tips to get started with incorporating expressive writing into your recovery plan:

  • Find a dedicated time and place to write, whether in the morning, before bed, or during a break. Consistency is key!
  • Be open and honest with yourself. Let your ideas and emotions flow freely without judgment.
  • Experiment with different approaches to expressive writing. Find what resonates with you the most.
  • Consider sharing your writing with a trusted individual such as a therapist, support group, or loved one. Their perspectives and feedback can be invaluable.
  • Remember to be patient with yourself. Recovery is a journey, and the benefits of expressive writing may take time to manifest fully. Be kind to yourself throughout the process.

Experience the Power of Expressive Writing Therapy for Mental Health Recovery at Excel Treatment Center

Expressive writing is a fantastic tool that can help your recovery. It offers many mental health benefits and allows you to heal emotionally and better understand yourself. 

It’s essential to long-term recovery, and we highly encourage you to try it.

If you want to try expressive writing strategies for addiction therapy, don’t hesitate to contact us at Excel Treatment Center. 

We have a wide range of addiction treatments available, including group therapy, holistic treatment, case management, and family therapy

Our dedicated team is here to support you every step of the way on your journey to recovery. Remember, your healing journey is worth all the effort. Keep writing and keep healing!

Addiction Treatment: Deciding on Programs Best for You

Do you feel overwhelmed by the number of treatment programs available to you? Perhaps you are trying to find a program best for you. Nowadays, we have endless options regarding addiction treatment. While having so many options is great, it can also be overwhelming.

In theory, there is no right or wrong program for you because treatment is most effective when tailored to your needs. Nevertheless, if you feel overwhelmed by the number of treatment programs available, reach out to a trusted facility. Discussing options with a medical provider or mental health professional can also help narrow things down.

Additionally, you can utilize your time in a treatment facility to experiment with different treatment modalities and programs. You do not have to have everything figured out when initially entering treatment.

Potential Treatment Programs

Entering treatment for the first time – or even a second time – is unique. There are various ways to treat different addictions. For example, treating a behavioral addiction may require stronger medications and a focus on psychotherapies that treat compulsions. Treating a substance use disorder (SUD) may also use medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and psychotherapies, but in a way that is tailored to your needs. For instance, SUD treatment for methamphetamines may be different than treating alcohol use disorder (AUD). So, the substance in question is significant to the treatment options utilized.

As mentioned, addiction treatment is most effective when tailored to your needs. Specialized substance use treatment programs will assess your needs in order to create a specific plan. A few treatment programs you may experience include detoxification, behavioral therapies, and MAT.

Detoxification (Detox)

Detox removes toxic substances – such as drugs or alcohol – from the body. The process is necessary to enter treatment as it helps reduce dependency. Though many try detoxing alone, it is incredibly dangerous and not recommended. Detoxing in a facility offers assessments, withdrawal management, medication, and around-the-clock supervision and support.

Behavioral Therapies

Behavioral therapies are typically used in treating SUD, behavioral addictions, and a number of mental health disorders. The most common such therapy is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Other practices like group therapy and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EDMR) are frequently used as well.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

MAT combines medications and behavioral therapies to treat SUD. Some people are weary of using medications to treat their addiction to drugs. However, MAT uses medicines approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help ease withdrawal symptoms and manage other discomforts throughout the treatment process. Additionally, MAT in a facility is constantly monitored throughout the detox and treatment phases.

Knowing the potential programs and treatments can prepare you for entering treatment. However, it does not quite help you determine the best programs for you on its own.

Finding Programs Best for You

The best way to find treatment programs best for you is by researching and reaching out to professionals. It sounds simple in theory, but an internet search can produce a lot of inaccurate information if you are unsure what to look for. Keep things simple to start. If you recognize the signs of SUD, behavioral addiction, or a mental health disorder within yourself, talk to your primary care physician. They may be able to refer you to a program, recommend a facility, or offer other resources to get you started in your recovery journey.

In addition to researching and talking to your doctor, do not be afraid to call facilities near you. If your doctor offers any highly recommended programs, call them first to ask them about treatment. Ask as many questions as needed to find the best facility with the right programs. Consulting with your doctor will sharpen your eye for what to look for, but you must also be honest about your situation for a facility to assess how they can help.

Creating Programs Best for You

Research, resources, and references are vital, but there are also ways for you to create your own program. Since addiction treatment is most effective when individualized, clients should have the chance to work with clinicians and have some power over their treatment program. Do not be afraid to be vocal with treatment professionals about your goals and vision for your treatment. Treatment is the time to experiment with different modalities, holistic approaches, and other alternative addiction treatment therapies. Talk to your doctor to learn more about having autonomy over your treatment program and recovery journey.

Consider Excel Treatment Center

At Excel Treatment Center, we offer a number of programs that may help your current situation. That includes partial hospitalization programs, outpatient and intensive outpatient programs, MAT, and inpatient rehabilitation. We encourage you to call and learn more about these potential programs and how Excel can help you today.

Are you feeling overwhelmed by the number of addiction treatment programs out there? Do you want to find help but are struggling with where to turn? Most people struggle to find the best treatment facility because there are now more options than ever. While options are good, they can be daunting. That is why discussing your concerns with your doctor or mental health professional is vital. They can offer advice and resources or make referrals to credible treatment programs they trust. You should not feel defeated when trying to find the programs best for you. Call Excel Treatment Center at (833) 883-9235 to learn about our services and how we can help you in your recovery journey today. 

Can Individuals Achieve Treatment Through Telehealth Services?

Telehealth services have become widely used throughout the past two years due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic. While some facilities offered virtual treatment services prior to the pandemic, it was not the norm. However, when the world shut down, treatment centers had to scramble to find a way to help their current and potential clients.

The evolution of virtual mental health services allowed millions to seek the necessary treatment required during this time. However, many question the effectiveness of telehealth services. Despite skepticism, many people have received effective treatment and have gone on to maintain their recovery.

Learning more about telehealth services and their pros and cons will help you understand if it is a good option for you and your situation. Many find that telehealth services offer the flexibility necessary to carry out everyday responsibilities while seeking treatment.

What Are the Potential Cons of Telehealth Services?

Telemental health services offer people a convenient and cost-effective way to seek therapy, treatment, and other medical services from the comfort of their own homes or wherever they are. However, what are the potential cons of telehealth?

The first potential con of telehealth is that not every medical service can be done virtually. For instance, this may be more true regarding physical health and medical services. Blood work, scans, and other services require in-person interaction, but a good chunk of telemental health services can be offered remotely. That does, of course, come with its own set of cons.

Cons of Telemental Health

Some of the potential cons of telemental health services include:

  • Lack of body language. Therapists and mental health professionals can infer much about clients from their body language. When treating a client virtually – whether over the phone or via zoom – professionals can not fully see their clients’ bodies. Body language can improve communication with clients. Virtual therapy requires a client to be completely honest, as there is no body language to infer from.
  • Increased distractions. Many clients love the flexibility of telehealth. However, it makes it hard for clients to be fully committed or focused if they are at work, taking care of their kids, or commuting during an appointment.
  • Technology is not always reliable. Poor internet connection, lack of devices, or not having a quiet space to set up a laptop or computer can hinder treatment.
  • Less intimacy and connection. Most would agree that virtual connection can not mimic in-person interactions. Being with people in person creates a bond that can make treatment and recovery more successful.
  • Treatment may require a higher-intensity plan. Lastly, some mental health conditions or substance use disorders (SUDs) are severe enough to require in-person treatment. Perhaps individuals can consider telehealth as a continuing treatment plan, but initial in-person treatment may be necessary before doing so.

Benefits of Telehealth Services

There are definitely many benefits of telehealth services, but as mentioned, some require initial in-person treatment. Telehealth is an effective tool for individuals trying to maintain their sobriety. However, if you are searching for an addiction treatment program for the first time, you may consider a residential treatment program.

Some of the potential benefits of telehealth services include:

  • Convenience. Our everyday lives can quickly become quite chaotic. Telehealth services offer people the flexibility to seek treatment from the comfort of their own homes. That means they do not have to find childcare, take more time from work to commute, or find transportation if they do not have a vehicle to use.
  • More availability and fewer geographical restrictions. Considering telemental health options allows people to seek qualified help from individuals and not worry about them being within a commutable distance. That makes increases access and availability significantly.
  • Reduced stigma and intimidation. Telemental health treatment also reduces the stigma and intimidation of in-person therapy. It can be nerve-racking to seek mental health treatment, especially if it is your first time. Virtual services relieve the anxiety and stigmas surrounding mental illness and make people more comfortable with their treatment.

Telehealth Therapy

Not all services can be offered virtually, but there are therapies you can utilize through telehealth services. Some of them include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) – focuses on exploring thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and understanding triggers associated with your addiction or mental illness. CBT also concentrates on recognizing and changing harmful thoughts and behaviors.
  • Mindfulness and meditation therapy – can also be offered virtually. These practices can help recovery by increasing your awareness and self-examination and helping you feel grounded.
  • Group therapy – can also be conducted in a virtual setting. Like in-person group therapy, interaction is vital, though it can be challenging to interact virtually. Despite the challenge, it can be effective, especially when you can not attend an in-person meeting.

You must determine if the potential benefits of telehealth services for mental health outweigh the cons. Some people love the convenience and flexibility of telemental health, but you may be the type that needs in-person interaction. There is no right or wrong way to go about it, so long as it benefits your recovery and mental health.

In times of devastation, we must find the silver linings and focus on the positive. One silver lining we can focus on regarding the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic is the growth of telehealth services. With telehealth services, individuals across the United States can seek mental health treatment from the comfort of their own homes. It is normal to be skeptical of the benefits of telemental health care, but it is also okay to be the type of person who prefers in-person treatment. There are pros and cons to both. Consider the pros and cons of telemental health care today. For treatment, call Excel Treatment Center at (833) 883-9235. We can help you on your path to recovery. 

The Importance of Individualized Treatment

Back in the day, the paths to addiction recovery were more rigid and uniform. However, professionals today have seen the benefits and improvements that come with individualized treatment. In fact, professionals across the entire medical community are beginning to see that not one path of treatment does not fit all clients.

All health care is most effective when tailored to each individual. The same goes for addiction treatment and recovery. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to addiction treatment and recovery or relapse prevention. To create a treatment plan, you must go through an assessment and work with professionals to create something that works well for you.

Addiction as a Unique Experience

Millions of people across the United States struggle with behavioral addictions, substance use disorders (SUD), and other mental illnesses. Despite being a common issue, each struggle with the above conditions is unique. No one person goes through the same experience, though people can relate.

For example, when you attend a support group meeting – such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous – you hear the narratives of people with the same disorder. However, each individual tells a unique story. These narratives offer a diverse perspective on how addiction, SUD, and other mental illnesses affect other people.

Due to the uniqueness of your experience with addiction, treatment must be individualized. That does not mean your treatment will not have some similarities. It means that you should have some power in your overall treatment plan. Treatment facilities should work with their clients and assess their addiction journey.

As the individual seeking treatment, you should feel empowered to make decisions about your treatment. Additionally, consider educating yourself on the potential treatment options as you embark on your recovery journey.

Individualized Treatment Options

Even when doing individualized treatment, there are commonalities. Typical treatment options for people seeking addiction recovery include behavioral therapies and medication.

Behavioral therapies are effective when treating both SUD and other mental illnesses. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most common modalities. However, you may also try dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), trauma work, and emotional regulation. Some behavioral therapies may work better than others, but being open about which works best with a clinical professional is vital.

There are also several medications that treat these conditions. Medicines are effective when treating depression, anxiety, and other mental disorder, but some people are weary of using them to treat SUD. However, many find medication-assisted treatment (MAT) effective in their treatment program.

Medication-Assisted Treatment in Individualized Treatment

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defines MAT as “the use of medications, in combination with counseling and behavior therapies, to provide a ‘whole-person’ approach” to treating SUD. MAT is clinically effective and can help many people manage withdrawal symptoms during detox.

You will have to try different methods during treatment, but many individuals find that a combination of MAT, behavioral therapies, and support group meetings is most effective.

Choosing a Recovery Program

In addition to working with a clinical professional to create a treatment plan, you must pick a recovery program. Typical recovery programs include:

  • Partial hospitalization program (PHP)
  • Outpatient treatment
  • Intensive outpatient program (IOP)
  • Inpatient rehabilitation

Picking the right program is dependent on your specific situation. For example, some people may require more intense treatment and 24/7 care. These individuals most likely benefit from an inpatient rehab program. However, if your circumstances require you to stay home with your family and provide for them, outpatient programs are an excellent choice.

The Importance of Assessments

As mentioned, assessments are critical to individualized care. Some of the questions you may be asked include:

#1. How long have you been consuming substances?

#2. What substance do you most struggle with?

#3. Are there specific goals you have for your addiction treatment?

#4. Why are you choosing to seek out treatment now?

#5. Do you know of or are you aware of underlying issues that may have led you to SUD?

Questions such as these help therapists and clinicians understand where you are at in your journey and create a plan accordingly. You may also consider discussing personal goals with your medical team during this time. Together, you can work on implementing a timeline and goals for your treatment.

Advocating for Your Treatment Needs

Feeling empowered to advocate for yourself in your treatment program can be challenging, especially at first. That is normal for anyone new to treatment. Remember that an individualized treatment plan will be more effective, help you achieve your goals, and decrease the risk of relapse later on.

Do not hesitate to advocate and co-create your individualized treatment plan. Addiction is a unique journey, and your treatment should be specific to your story. To learn more about individualized treatment, reach out to a professional today. A life of recovery is just around the corner.

Millions of Americans struggle with behavioral addiction, SUD, and other mental illnesses. However, each individual story is unique. For that reason, treatment must be tailored to every one of those million Americans struggling with these concerns. That includes you. Regardless of where you are in your journey, you should feel empowered to advocate for individualized treatment. You must work with clinicians and case managers to ensure your goals for treatment are heard Excel Treatment Center offers fully individualized treatment. You can attend various experiential therapies that cater to your personality and needs. Additionally, you’ll engage in traditional behavioral therapies. This combination sets you on the path to recovery. If you require treatment, call us at (833) 883-9235

Is There a Standard Length of Treatment?

Addiction recovery professionals should tailor treatment to each individual. When they do, there should not necessarily be a rigid time limit on how long it will last. Everyone reaches recovery at their own pace, so expecting a standard length of time for you is unrealistic. Factors like your duration of use and type of substance should influence the general time frame. The type of program you are in will also influence the length of treatment.

Unfortunately, other factors influence the length of treatment too. Often, factors like finances, insurance coverage, or other clerical technicalities come into play. Nevertheless, individuals should not let these factors hinder the transformative process of treatment. Feel empowered to advocate for your recovery needs, collaborate with your medical team, and sense when the right time is for you to leave treatment.

Outpatient Treatment

The length of treatment initially depends on the type of program. Two specific options for treatment include outpatient and inpatient. Both are equally effective; however, one may be a better fit for your particular situation.

Outpatient treatment allows clients to seek treatment at a facility but return home to accommodate their daily needs. A program like this is an excellent way to get the help necessary to live a life of sobriety while continuing with your day-to-day responsibilities.

Additionally, outpatient treatment has many other benefits, including the chance to practice holistic therapy, continue working, and grow through traditional therapy methods. With outpatient treatment, there are no strict timelines. You can attend therapy sessions once a week or more if you would like, and there is much more flexibility which helps clients feel empowered in their recovery journey.

Unfortunately, outpatient treatment is not efficient for everyone. You will likely require more intense treatment if you are in the very early stages of addiction treatment. Your support needs will be higher when detoxing. Additionally, doctors must stabilize you before releasing you if you self-harm and experience suicidal thoughts. In these scenarios, inpatient treatment is necessary.

Inpatient Treatment

Individuals who need more intensive care will benefit from an inpatient treatment program. Inpatient rehab, also known as residential care, is when a person comes to live in a treatment facility. During an inpatient treatment program, you will usually have access to several services, including:

  • Medically supervised detoxification where clients can be closely monitored and administered medications to help with withdrawal symptoms
  • Group and individual therapy sessions that help you get the root cause of your addiction, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), motivational interviewing, and family-based therapy
  • Aftercare planning or relapse prevention programs, which will aid your transition from residential treatment to life post-treatment

During inpatient treatment, you can develop a sober support system by creating friendships with other people in recovery. You can also focus on rediscovering your identity outside of addiction.

Benefits of Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient programs are vital for individuals still in the deep of active addiction and offer many benefits, like:

  • Structure and routines allow clients to focus solely on their treatment, mental health, and long-term sobriety
  • Around-the-clock care is essential; you wake up at night with intense cravings or other symptoms, and 24/7 care will support you
  • Being in a safe environment will allow you to detox, practice coping skills, and plan for your life in recovery

One downside of residential care is that there will come a time for it to end. If insurance and finances allow, you may be able to extend your time, but that is not always the case.

Why Limit Length of Treatment?

On average, a treatment facility’s program will last about 30 days initially. You can sometimes extend treatment, but insurance companies may not cover it. There could be other stipulations if you stay.

Some facilities also focus on specific areas of recovery. One facility may have long-term programs to help with lifestyle practices post-treatment. Others focus primarily on detox and early treatment.

In reality, individuals cannot remain in addiction treatment for extended periods. Treatment is the first step in a much longer journey. The next step is life in recovery, but you must leave treatment to experience this next step.

Leaving treatment, especially when you have 24/7 support, is scary, but it is a testament to how far you have come. As long as you are open and honest with professionals at your facility, your treatment program should prepare you for what’s to come.

Is There a Right or Wrong Length of Treatment?

Regarding how long it takes for treatment to work, the American Psychological Association (APA) indicates on their page titled “How Long Will It Take for Treatment to Work?” that the length of treatment for psychological problems varies greatly from one patient to another. According to them, treatment “should always be matched appropriately to the nature and severity of the person’s presenting difficulties.”

In other words, the right length of treatment depends on your individual needs. Do not let the standards of others define what you require for your recovery journey. You started the healing process, and you can help decide your needs.

There is no right or wrong length of treatment for individuals struggling with addiction, substance use, disorder (SUD), or other mental illnesses. How long treatment takes should depend on your condition and the severity of your struggle. The length of treatment will also depend on the type of program you are in. Excel Treatment Center offers four levels of care that require varying amounts of time. We offer groups that help you bond with sober peers. Additionally, you’ll be able to participate in many traditional and holistic therapies. Our care is truly individualized from the psych assessment all the way to your aftercare. To seek help or receive more information, call (833) 883-9235 today.