Sound Therapy: The Sensational Healing of Sonic Power

Sound Therapy: The Sensational Healing of Sonic Power

Recovery from addictions is not always the same for everyone. Individualized approaches and treatment plans tend to yield better results for those seeking change from addictive behaviors. Exploring alternative therapies, such as sound therapy, may give you more options for your treatment program.

Sound therapy and other sensory therapies can help you heal by incorporating the mind-body connection. Sensations that we experience can elicit emotional responses and release pain. Sound can be a powerful way of stimulating our sensory pathways to help us heal from underlying causes of addiction.

Some sounds in nature, like waterfalls or calm rain, can have a calming effect on us. Other sounds, like musical notes or percussive instruments, can induce specific emotions. Sound therapy can help us learn mindfulness and reduce stress. What might you experience during a sound therapy session?

Mindfulness: Combating Your Distracting Thoughts

A sound therapy session may begin with some basic mindfulness exercises to help you relax and focus. You might even be asked to put a blindfold on to minimize sensory input from your eyes to elevate your sense of hearing. You may complete some breathing exercises or meditation. These exercises can be therapeutic in and of themselves, as you can also utilize mindfulness practices in other areas of your life.

The purpose of practicing mindfulness during sound therapy is to allow distracting thoughts to disappear from your conscious mind so that you can focus on the session. Remember that you can use mindfulness and breathing exercises outside of your sound therapy sessions!

Techniques and Sounds: What to Expect

Sound therapists may use a variety of devices and instruments to create sounds during your session. Sound therapists may use simple instruments like Tibetian sound bowls, gongs, or chimes, to create sounds. The sounds may also be akin to natural sounds, like white noise or other ambient non-musical sounds. Your sound therapist may also use pre-recorded sounds from electronic devices during your session.

As your sound therapist repeats or plays the sounds, you will be asked to relax further. You may feel certain emotions during the session, as sounds can trigger specific feelings in our minds. Sound therapists may also use a technique known as bilateral stimulation.

Bilateral Stimulation in Sound Therapy

Bilateral stimulation is a way of stimulating the brain by producing sensations that alternate from one side of the body to the other. A sound therapist may use bilateral stimulation by producing a sound for one ear and then the other ear in a repetitive, side-to-side fashion.

Bilateral stimulation activates both hemispheres of the brain and can help you relax more easily. Bilateral stimulation is a common practice in other therapies, such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and your sound therapist may use this technique during your session as well.

Music Therapy: A Type of Sound Therapy

Music therapy can also be considered a form of sound therapy. During a music therapy session, you will listen to or engage in playing music with a trained music therapist. You may be asked to sing or write songs to learn new ways of expressing your feelings and emotions. A music therapist may also play specific songs to help you experience certain emotions within a safe environment.

Music and song can have a powerful effect on the mind and you might find yourself experiencing emotions that you struggle with managing. Your music therapist can help you learn to manage these emotions after eliciting them during your session.

The Benefits of Sound Therapy

Sounds, like music and specific pitches, can induce an emotional response in your mind. You may associate a specific song or sound with a memory or a thought. Sound therapy can benefit those in recovery from addiction by teaching new ways of relaxing and providing safe environments for experiencing emotions.

Following a sound therapy session, you may feel more relaxed and better able to manage stress. Sometimes, the after-effects of sound therapy sessions can carry over throughout the rest of the day. You may also benefit from learning how to focus and silence distracting thoughts as you engage in mindful practices during your sessions.

You may feel less anxious and experience positive mood changes. If you utilize alcohol or other substances as a means of relaxing or distracting yourself from thoughts, sound therapy may be a healthy substitute for your addictive behavior.

You may find yourself able to relax more easily without the negative effects of substance or alcohol addictions. Incorporating alternative approaches to treatment, like sound therapy and music therapy, can enhance your existing recovery plan.

Alternative therapies can help you to find newer and exciting approaches to manage your addictions and enhance your recovery treatment. Some approaches may be new to you and exposing yourself to a variety of treatment options can help you feel more in control of your treatment. Sound therapy, and other sensory therapies, can teach you how to relax, focus, and be more mindful throughout your day. In recovery, finding choices and alternative therapies can empower you to cultivate a unique and individualized approach to your recovery treatment. You will be inclined to participate in your recovery if the treatment suits your needs and interests. At Enlightened Solutions, we understand the value of sound therapy and other therapeutic techniques in helping our clients learn to cope with their addictive behaviors. Call us today at (833) 801-5483 to find a pathway to recovery that fits your needs and personality!

Is Fear of Change Holding Back Your Recovery?

Is Fear of Change Holding Back Your Recovery?

There are many reasons people fear getting sober. They fear the pain of withdrawal, they fear they’ll be lonely in treatment, they fear being vulnerable during therapy, and so on. Another common fear is the fear of change. It may seem like if your life is falling apart because of drugs and alcohol, you would welcome change. And you may really want to change but you can still be afraid of it. What if you fall back into old habits? What if being sober means you’ll no longer have a way to cope with painful emotions? What if people expect too much from you when you’re sober?

There are many possible reasons you might fear change. There may also be no particular reason at all. The unknown is scary. Many people prefer a bad but familiar situation to an unknown situation. The subconscious reasoning is, “My situation is bad, but at least I’m alive and I know what to expect. Who knows what will happen if I change something?” Fear of change can create a lot of friction when you need to be making substantial changes pretty quickly. If fear of change is holding you back, the following strategies might help.

Acknowledge What You’re Feeling

Often, fear of change shows up as resistance. It might be that you’re procrastinating on some important action, such as seeing a therapist or researching treatment options. Or maybe you get angry with a loved one when they raise certain topics. You might not recognize that you’re actually experiencing fear of change. When you experience these moments of procrastination, indecision, or friction, ask yourself if fear of change might be the cause. If so, accept that what you’re feeling is normal.

Identify Your Assumptions

Typically, it’s our thoughts about a situation that upset us, not the situations itself. Fear of change is no different. When you fear change, there is typically some unidentified assumption behind it. For example, you might imagine that if you get sober, you will turn into a kind of person you don’t like. You might even have a specific image in mind, like Ned Flanders, or something.

However, that is a cognitive distortion, most likely all-or-nothing thinking. Or you may have some vague belief like “It would be awful if I couldn’t drink with my friends.” Even when things we worry about actually happen, they’re almost never as bad as we expect them to be and we can typically cope. Identifying the distorted thinking behind your fear makes it easier to manage your fear.

Let Go of Perfectionism

Some people’s fear of change is rooted in their perfectionism. They want to do everything just right or not at all but whenever you try something new, you won’t do it very well at first. Fear of change is just one of the many ways perfectionism can make you miserable. If you’re afraid of doing something badly or looking foolish, you’ll never try new things and you’ll never grow. Accept that there will be a learning curve but that if you keep working on it, you will inevitably get better.

Approach Change with Curiosity

For most people, fear of change is rooted in their natural fear of the unknown. As noted above, we often prefer the certainty of a bad situation to the unknown. The unknown always causes anxiety because you don’t know what challenges you might face. One way to deal with this anxiety is to treat it like excitement, which, physiologically, is nearly identical. Instead of fearing the unknown, be curious about what will happen, and be excited to find out. Treat change like an experiment that might allow you to unlock new knowledge and skills.

Separate Behavior from Identity

To some extent, nearly all of us need a sense of identity. This is often complex, woven from our personal histories, our friends and family, our likes and dislikes, our skills, our interests, where we’re from, our political affiliation, what sports teams we support, and on and on. For many people, drugs and alcohol are woven into their identity. They affect how they relate to friends and themselves.

They are just as much a part of their identity as they are part of their daily routine. As a result, changing that behavior can threaten your sense of self. However, it’s important to realize that your behavior is not your identity. At best, it’s a small part. One way to minimize the sense of threat of change to your identity is to write about your core values. Research shows this makes you less defensive and more open to positive change.

Focus on Process

When people think about making a life change, they typically have a mental model of either transforming into someone else or arriving at a destination. You’re sort of letting go of what you are in order to become something else. That feels threatening for the reasons discussed above. A more accurate way to think about it is acquiring a skill. For example, when did you change from a non-reader to a reader?

The question doesn’t really make sense because you gradually learned to read better through years of daily practice. You can think of other changes in the same way. You’re not changing from a person with a substance use disorder into a sober person; you’re practicing the skills involved in staying sober for as long as you want to.

Remember that No Change is Permanent

Part of the fear of change has to do with your implicit assumption that you can’t go back or that you’re stuck with whatever change you make. In reality, change is inevitable. Sometimes changes are reversible and sometimes they change into something else. Either way, you’re almost never stuck with any change you make. In fact, sustaining a new behavior takes quite a bit of work at first and for most people seeking help for a substance use disorder, the real challenge is making positive changes last. The good news is that whatever you fear about change will be transient at best.

Change is always hard because we like the familiar and predictable. Even when it’s bad, we know what to expect and how to deal with it. However, when we fear and resist change, we also cut ourselves off from many great possibilities. You can overcome your fear of change by acknowledging it, examining your assumptions about change, and replacing your faulty assumptions with more objective thinking. This isn’t easy and may require help from a therapist, as well as a lot of practice, but it will be worth it in the end.

At Enlightened Solutions, we know that overcoming a substance use disorder will probably be the hardest change you ever have to make. We use many evidence-based methods to address the challenges of recovery on many fronts, including the latest therapeutic methods, family involvement, spiritual development, and transitional support. To learn more, call us at 833-801-5483.

How We Can Redirect Our Thoughts When We Are In Crisis

How We Can Redirect Our Thoughts When We Are In Crisis

When we are experiencing a serious depression or other crisis such as a nervous breakdown, our thoughts can be debilitating and are often a major contributing factor in our condition. When we are in crisis, our thoughts can feel as though they are out of control. We can experience thoughts of deep hopelessness and despair, breakdowns in our rational thinking, and suicidal thoughts and ideation.

One thing we can do for ourselves when we are in crisis is to work on redirecting our thoughts. This can feel impossible. We feel controlled by our thoughts, even haunted or tortured by them. Our inner demons are persistent and overbearing, and they dominate our minds. If we can start to consciously choose our thoughts with intention, we can start to take back control of our minds.

Our usual default line of thinking is often focused on how much pain we’re in. We think thoughts like “I don’t want to be alive. I can’t do this anymore. I don’t deserve to live.” We tend to replay these same thoughts over and over again in our minds, which amplifies them and gives them even more power over us. When we have moments of feeling even a little better, maybe we have a pause in our painful thoughts, our instinct is often to return to the depressing thoughts. That becomes our automatic line of thinking that our minds naturally, instinctively revert to.

The good news is that we can reprogram this line of thinking. Our minds have the capability of transforming themselves from within. Even in times of crisis, even in a total state of breakdown, we often have moments where we have some clarity. In those moments, whenever you can, start to say things to yourself like “I am healing. I am getting better. This pain will be over soon. I will get through this.” Write them down if you can. If you need the help of a therapist or friend, ask. You can record your affirmations, and anything else you find comforting. Meditate with the recording to calm yourself and help you sleep. With repetition, we are reprogramming our subconscious minds. As we do this, we begin to be able to heal our deepest wounds, address our underlying fears and handle unresolved emotions.

When painful thoughts arise, try not to fight them. Meditation helps us to accept our thoughts rather than adding resistance to them, which can add fuel to the fire. We can embrace our painful thoughts with our understanding and compassion. We can have empathy and patience for our inner selves as we heal.

Enlightened Solutions has years of experience helping people in recovery. Call (833) 801-LIVE for more information on how we can help you.