Existential therapy helps individuals find meaning in their lives. This can be an important part of the treatment process for those who are struggling with addiction, as it can help to give them a sense of purpose and direction.
The search for meaning, purpose and values is a principal tenet of existential psychology.
The principle of spiritual emptiness, alienation, and self-estrangement lies behind many of the most common underlying problems people with substance abuse face.
Spiritual emptiness manifests as meaninglessness. Alienation occurs when someone doesn’t like themselves or their own actions, and self-estrangement results from a lack of connection.
These experiences create intolerable pain and a sense of hopelessness in addicts, which can drive them to seek relief through substance abuse.
An existential approach can help individuals clarify their values and connect with their authentic selves, leading to a greater sense of self-worth and empowerment.
Existential therapy techniques like values clarification and choice-making processes can be beneficial in helping clients make conscious choices about how they want to live their lives without feeling trapped.
This increased sense of self-efficacy can then motivate them to make positive changes in their lives, including accepting an individualized treatment plan for their substance abuse problems.
Existential therapy can be an important part of an overall substance abuse treatment plan, providing clients with the necessary tools to create lasting change.
The goal of existential therapy is to help clients see how and where their choices are leading them astray. They begin to see how and where their choices are taking them away from living life according to their values and desires.
They confront issues such as their own death, the isolation that everyone experiences, and the meaning of life. While examining these topics might be tough, it is through self-reflection that clients begin finding meaning and living genuinely.
Existential self-reflection underlies much of the therapeutic interventions, the individualized treatment plans, and the community at the Ranch. The treatment team focuses on a client’s behavior, helping them see how it can either be an asset or a liability.
Often the treatment team or peers in a Small Group therapy setting help a client analyze their behavior in real-time. Why is the client making choices within the community that inherently go against their values as a person?
Addiction is a disease that is daunting to treat by oneself. In fact, we’ve never seen it done.
When someone is addicted to drugs or has alcoholic behavior, they do not live by a code of values that are beneficial to those around them. Most alcoholics and drug addicts are not honest with their loved ones about their addiction.
The way they live is harmful to those around them, and to themselves. They are very rarely honest about where their addiction has taken them, and how they feel about what they have done to themselves and others.
Addicts and alcoholics also tend to assign very little meaning to their life. And the meaning they do have, be it trying to stay sober for their child or to stay employed, has very little power over their ability to get and stay sober.
At Burning Tree Ranch, existential therapy helps clients to see how and where their choices are leading them astray. It also creates the space and time for our clients to reflect on their values and how they want to live their lives moving forward.