eNewsletter - December 2023

Linden Oaks Announces New Creative Arts Therapy Intensive Outpatient Program

By: Elizabeth Hill, LCPC, ATR-BC

Creative arts therapy (CAT) dates as far back as ancient Greece and Rome, historically prescribed for individuals suffering from depression or anxiety disorders. In modern times, CAT is an effective option for individuals dealing with a multitude of mental health issues and include varying levels of patient participation. According to the American Psychological Association, CAT first began appearing in the US in the late 1940s, but before then had been prevalent in other parts of the world as a commonly used therapeutic medium.

The benefits of CAT. Art therapies focus on the patient's internal experience rather than outside factors and aid in processing emotions and self-growth through the use of different techniques. The utilization of creative arts therapy offers a distinctive and impactful pathway to stimulate healing, personal development and self-exploration. This inventive, multi-sensory methodology capitalizes on the expressive qualities of art, music, drama and movement, thereby unlocking deeper emotions and facilitating transformative journeys.

CAT is a type of therapy without any strict rules. Because of this, science suggests that CAT can aid in recovery and mental health treatment in a positive, balanced way. Individuals of any age or background can benefit from CAT as these therapies do not require a person to have specific artistic ability. Because CAT focuses on the process of creating and the channeling of the patient’s feelings into their art, it is a wonderful option for those that may have a hard time expressing themselves verbally. It can be used both individually and in a group setting.

According to the American Art Therapy Association, people can use CAT to:

  • Improve cognitive and sensorimotor functions
  • Improve self-esteem and self-awareness
  • Enhance social skills
  • Build emotional strength
  • Encourage insight into situations causing stress or issues
  • Resolve conflict or distress 
  • Aid in relationship-building

Types of CAT. Linden Oaks’ new evening/weekend IOP provides an evidence-based creative arts treatment model. This group-based program incorporates Art Therapy, Music Therapy, Dance/Movement Therapy, Animal-Assisted Therapy, Horticultural Therapy, Recreation Therapy and Occupational Therapy. Together, these modalities provide a dynamic and comprehensive avenue for delving into emotions, nurturing self-awareness, and catalyzing mental health recovery. The utilization of creative arts therapy offers a distinctive and impactful pathway to stimulate healing, personal development and self-exploration. This inventive, multi-sensory methodology capitalizes on the expressive qualities of art, music, drama and movement, thereby unlocking deeper emotions.

It has been proven that these therapies, whether used in tandem with one another or with other therapy techniques, can be used to treat a range of mental and physical health disorders and illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, chronic depression and anxiety, and PTSD. Linden Oaks’ IOP is suitable for adults 18 years or older who are seeking mental health treatment through alternative methods to process, express and regulate emotions with experiential interventions as well as those who are interested in using the creative process to gain a deeper understanding of their thoughts, emotions, behaviors and past experiences. Patients with a primary diagnosis of substance use disorder or eating disorder are not candidates for the program at this time.

Finding more support with Linden Oaks. Linden Oaks is available to discuss treatment options for any level of behavioral healthcare. The Creative Arts Therapy Intensive Outpatient Program is a 4 - 6 week program that takes place Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 pm - 7 pm and Saturdays from 9 am - 12 pm. For more information on this and other programs Linden Oaks offers, call our 24/7 help line at 630-305-5027.

Sober Holidays

By: Beth Menges, LCPC, CADC

As the holiday season goes into full swing, staying sober during this time can be challenging if you struggle with alcohol dependence. The following are some practical strategies to navigate the holiday festivities without alcohol. So, grab a cup of your favorite non-alcoholic beverage and let’s dive in!

1. Plan ahead. If you attend a party where drinks will be served, think through potential challenges and how you will react. Think through who will be at the party and who you will spend time with to support your recovery. Arrive early and leave early so you can avoid situations where others become intoxicated. Bring your own non-alcoholic drink, and make sure to have your own transportation and an exit strategy so you can control when you leave.

2. Avoid triggering activities. Holiday festivities like office parties and family gatherings may be difficult to navigate. Accept your limits. If you are newly sober, you may have to skip some celebrations that have a heavy focus on alcohol consumption. It is OK to say “no.”

3. Increase support. Plan to attend a self-help meeting prior to or after a holiday event. Often times, there are marathon meetings on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years’ Eve and New Year’s Day. Phone a friend, or reach out to supportive friends.

4. Bring non-alcoholic drinks. If you are at a party with non-alcoholic beverages, grab one right away so other party goers don’t keep asking if you want a drink. You may also want to bring your own non-alcoholic drink, and there are many choices of “mocktails” or sparkling waters to choose from.

5. Communicate your concerns. Share how you are feeling about upcoming events and your plans to stay sober with family and friends so they can help support you. You and your loved ones can work together to support your recovery during this time of year.

6. Eat well. Eat meals in moderation, and remember not to overindulge. Some helpful hints to eat well include choosing healthy foods, eating off a smaller plate, taking your time and being mindful about eating.

7. Begin new traditions. Take this time to create new memories and sober traditions to celebrate the new you! Consider participating in a 5K, do something for self-care, or host other sober friends for a holiday celebration. Begin a new tradition by having family and friends participate in a gratitude activity at the start of your festivities.

8. Look for volunteer opportunities. Look for ways to serve others. Volunteer at a homeless shelter or food pantry. These opportunities can help you spread joy to others, and may also be very rewarding.

Remember the holidays can be tricky, but they don’t have to be overwhelming. Staying sober is possible during the holiday season. Go, have fun, and enjoy your sobriety with those closest to you.

Finding more support with Linden Oaks. If you or someone you care about is struggling with substance use, contact Linden Oaks Hospital at 630-305-5027. At Linden Oaks we partner with those in our community to provide evidenced-based, person-centered care. We offer a full continuum of services, including withdrawal management as well as Partial Hospital and Intensive Outpatient programming.