8 Experiential Therapies for Drug & Alcohol Recovery

Drug and alcohol addiction comes with a number of challenges and complexities that need compassionate and complex care. It’s not just about getting your body past detox, but it’s about expanding your mind and capabilities and growing as a human on this path called life. 

You have to be able to forgive yourself and release any resentment or guilt that could lead to relapse. While traditional talk therapy and medication-assisted treatments are helpful, some people need alternative forms of therapy to go deeper and address the root causes of their addiction.

Experiential therapies usually involve art, body, and mind. The power to become a deliberate creator can open up the right side of your brain and uncover newfound abilities and passions that will keep you grounded in the long run. If you or somebody you love is struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, it’s time to consider exploring experiential therapies at The Encino Detox Center in Los Angeles, CA.

Dance and Movement Therapy

Dance and movement therapy is designed to help people reconnect with their bodies, explore their emotions, and improve their self-confidence. Drug and alcohol recovery patients will learn how to tap into the ancient art of movement and move in their own unique ways. If you have experienced trauma or struggle with anxiety or depression on top of your addiction, dance therapy is a great way to let go and ground yourself in your body. 

Some therapists will have you dance in front of the mirror or respond to prompts with improvisational movements. Most patients are thoroughly surprised at how well this helps them observe and stop triggers in their tracks on a daily basis. 

Phototherapy (Light Therapy)

Light therapy sounds so fancy, but we are not talking about a tanning salon here; we are talking about a real therapy that stimulates the body’s natural production of endorphins and serotonin. Endorphins and serotonin act as mood-stabilizing neurotransmitters in the brain, which can help reduce the anxiety and depression that most recovery patients face. 

If you are recovering from drug or alcohol addiction, then light therapy could seriously help improve your sleep patterns, enhance your concentration, and boost your overall energy as you continue healing. 

Improvisation Therapy

Life is beautiful, but it can feel dark and intimidating right now, so why not try something totally bold? Improvisation therapy is a form of acting therapy that emphasizes spontaneity and creative expression. 

During improv therapy, you will be encouraged to let go of your inhibitions and respond to the present moment without planning or judgment. Improvisation therapy can help people improve their communication skills, build self-confidence, and practice emotional regulation. Plus, acting can certainly give you a chance to laugh again, at yourself and at how silly life can be when you engage your right brain in creation. 


Psychodrama is a form of group therapy that involves improvisational role-playing. Think of it like improv therapy but with a group of people who are also struggling with addiction recovery. Participants in the group will take on different roles, often based on real-life experiences, and act them out in a safe and structured setting. Psychodrama can help you process past traumas, develop empathy and understanding, and improve your communication skills.

Somatic Experience Therapy

Somatic experience therapy is a type of body-centered therapy that aims to address the physical symptoms of trauma. It involves gentle touch and guided movement to help you connect with your body and release tension and stress. Somatic experience therapy can help you manage the anxiety that arises as you begin your drug-free journey. 

Art Therapy

Art therapy uses creative processes like drawing, painting, and sculpting to explore emotions and improve mental health. In addiction recovery, art therapy can be a powerful tool for expressing feelings that might be too painful or overwhelming to articulate with words. By creating art, you or a loved one can access deeper layers of their unconscious and develop insight into underlying emotional states.


Yoga is a physical and spiritual practice that emphasizes mindfulness and breath control. In addiction recovery, yoga can be a helpful tool for managing stress, reducing anxiety, and improving overall well-being. Studies have shown that regular practice can help restore balance to the nervous system and improve your sleep quality.

One of the most powerful yoga practices for addiction recovery is yin yoga. This therapeutic form of yoga requires sitting in positions for long periods to release tensions in the fascia system. 


Take a deep breath because practicing mindfulness can be life-changing if you are struggling with addiction recovery. Mindfulness is a form of meditation that encourages you to focus your attention on the present moment. Mindfulness-based interventions have been used successfully in addiction treatment to help people manage cravings, regulate emotions, and build resilience. Practicing mindfulness on a daily basis and making it a part of your routine can seriously help in preventing relapse.

If you are unsure where to start, just set a three-minute timer and sit crisscross applesauce with your eyes open or closed. Observe your body and surroundings. Remain in the present moment and accept it as it is, even if it doesn’t feel so great right now.

Explore Experiential Therapies for Drug and Alcohol Recovery at The Encino Detox Center in Los Angeles, CA 

At The Encino Detox Center, we understand and are compassionate toward patients who are going through addiction recovery. That’s why we take an experiential as well as medical approach to your recovery journey.

No two people are the same, and we are ready to help you get to the root cause of your addictions and heal. It is possible to change, and it is possible to get your life back after addiction. 

If you are ready to take the first step, contact us today. We offer a comprehensive approach, including various traditional and alternative therapies to meet each person’s needs. Our compassionate team is here for you every step of the way.

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