Do you ever feel like you’re not making progress in therapy? Maybe you return with the same concerns every few weeks and can’t seem to move past them. Perhaps you feel uninspired by your therapist or are tired of talking things over all the time. This “therapy rut” is a frustrating place to be. You want to feel better and you are making an effort by going to therapy. So why isn’t it working? Truth be told, some therapies have a greater impact on us than others. A particular therapy might not be your cup of tea, and that’s OK. In other words, you need to spice up your therapy, try new things and test limits to see what works for you. So if you feel like your usual therapeutic schedule is boring you to tears, ask about some of these less common therapies. They might provide enough spark to jumpstart your overall therapy program and help you continue to progress.
Psychodrama uses roleplaying and drama to help individuals or families gain clarity on past events and develop the social and emotional skills necessary for conflict-resolution, problem solving and emotional regulation. Role reversal, mirroring and doubling are common techniques used in psychodrama to help individuals explore their own feelings or experience a new perspective. The group players all help each other throughout the process, by mirroring another’s actions or by supplying an actor’s inner monologue. And you might think you are too shy to benefit from psychodrama, but perhaps that is an indication that you could benefit from it. After all, therapy is not very effective if you always stay in your comfort zone and do not challenge yourself.
Brainspotting is a technique that helps individuals uncover trauma and negative emotions. Brainspotting is founded on the theory that eye movement is directly related to certain areas of the brain. Therefore, you might have a more intense emotional experience while looking in a certain direction. A therapist trained in the brainspotting technique guides your focus with a pointer, and helps you identify different “brainspots” that are triggered. From there, the therapist will employ different techniques to help you process and heal from the trauma. It is believed that the specific brainspots themselves can also have innate healing properties. Brainspotting is closely related to eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. The specific triggers for bad memories or negative emotions are eye positions or movements, and the brain can be reprogrammed into associating these eye positions or movements with a more positive emotion or pleasant memory.
If you are in couples therapy or family therapy and the sessions seem to be a drag for everyone, don’t give up. Instead, try adventure therapy. This unique therapeutic approach is best for groups because it revolves around activities that promote cooperation, trust, problem solving and self-confidence. Adventure therapy gets you off the couch and out of the office. It can be done virtually anywhere, but most often occurs in a wilderness setting in order to present you with challenges that are both physical, mental and emotional. You’ll learn to adapt to changing circumstances, work with what you have and make the most of your strengths. This type of therapy is very hands-on. You must take risks to understand your own self-efficacy. You will notice that each person in your group has different strengths, and that is OK. Couples and families learn to rely on one another and trust one another, and individuals (especially children or teens) can quickly develop the relational skills and emotional skills necessary to stay the course and complete a challenging task.
There is no doubt that horses are inspirational creatures. They are stunningly beautiful and wild, and yet they are calm and willing to be around us. You may have a bond with your cat or dog, and it’s possible to connect with a horse in the same way. Horses are receptive and emotional beings who communicate through subtle body language. Equine therapy uses this to your advantage. Communication is a two-way street, and so the horse becomes a reflection of your own state of mind. If you are nervous and anxious, the horse might also be nervous. When you are calm, the horse stays calm and relaxed. But equine therapy isn’t about meditating into a certain state of mind and using the horse as a mirror. It’s much more hands-on than that. Unlike other types of therapy that use horses, your therapy sessions may not include riding. Working on the ground with the horse is the easiest way to learn how to communicate with a horse and earn its trust. You will understand that you have the power to influence those around you positively or negatively. All of the interaction and care you give the therapy horse can stimulate and soothe your mind. You may find it easier to discuss difficult topics in the peaceful atmosphere of the stable or while brushing the horse. You’ll look forward to your therapy sessions each week, and the amazing thing is that the horse will look forward to your visit just as much, giving you a sense of purpose and belonging that you may be lacking.