Healthy Eating: Creating Mind-Body Unity Through Food

Healthy Eating: Creating Mind-Body Unity Through Food

The connection between the mind and the body remains vital to your well-being. Your decisions, behaviors, and mindset affect how you feel physically and mentally. Whether you neglected and damaged your mind or body, you can take steps to heal and repair both. The power of a few lifestyle choices in healing your mind and body is incredible.

The Mind-Body Connection

Throughout history, people have discussed the mind-body connection. Some believed the link existed as one. Yet, scholars and researchers now believe the mind-body connection reflects two separate entities as time passes. What one entity does to the other affects both. For example, if you struggle to take care of your body, you may also struggle to improve your mental health. Consider how rest days from exercising make you feel. The time off to do nothing but relax helps heal your body. Likewise, self-care, like a rest day, heals your mind.

Maybe the idea of doing nothing one day a week is challenging. That's okay. You don't have to do anything all day to reap the benefits of letting your mind and body heal or relax. A rest day is perfect for meditating, walking in nature, drawing, or reading. Any activity that brings you joy is a way to heal and connect your mind and body. Creating this balance is vital.

Mind-body balance creates healthy, positive feelings toward yourself and others. Any disruption to their connection can damage your thoughts, attitude, or feelings. How you feel or think about yourself affects how you treat yourself. Mindful activities or choices positively impact your mind and body. Physical symptoms can reflect psychological or social issues.

How the Connection Works

Your brain produces chemicals that affect your mental and physical health. For example, when the brain releases endorphins, you can cope with stress and anxiety. Similarly, immunoglobulins or antibodies produced by the immune system are activated to remove harmful, foreign substances from the body. Alcohol and drugs affect how endorphins and immunoglobins are released, causing your mind and body to react differently. Without immunoglobins, your body can't fight off damaging foreign substances. As a result, you can become ill or weakened. Feeling weak or sick changes your mindset, potentially leading to negative thoughts and behaviors.

Mental health or substance use disorder (SUD) treatment builds the foundation for better health. An essential part of treatment is learning how to feed your mind and body.

Feeding Your Mind and Body

Nutrition is one of the most potent ways to heal your mind and body. How you think about and treat food affects your well-being. When you're disconnected from your body, you make your brain responsible for what and how you eat. For example, if you're angry at yourself or don't like your appearance, you can make harmful decisions that affect your body. Suppose you think you're fat and want to find ways to control food. You are at an increased risk of developing an eating disorder. People with eating disorders may find harmful ways to lose weight or look better. Unfortunately, drastically reducing calories or taking other measures damages your mind and body from receiving the necessary nourishment.

To begin the healing process, you must give back to your body and nurture its healing properties. Feed your body well, and it will treat you well. Work with a nutritionist or your therapist to build a healthy relationship with food. Discover the psychological reasons you withheld healthy food from your body. And then learn how to shop, prepare, and eat.

Benefits of Healthy Eating

Healthy eating is a lifestyle choice. Choosing or finding the right food is, at times, challenging. The benefits of maintaining a healthy diet are countless. Some of the benefits include:

  • The potential to live longer
  • Maintains your skin, teeth, and eye health
  • Builds or supports your muscles and bones
  • Increases your immunity
  • Lowers the risk of illness like heart disease, some cancers, or type two diabetes
  • It keeps your digestive system healthy
  • It helps you maintain or reach a healthy weight

Healthy eating can also improve your sleep and memory and set an example for your children or other loved ones.

How to Eat Healthily

Think of your plate as a canvas. You want as much color on it as possible. To achieve the goal of having a colorful plate, you need fruits and vegetables. But, how much do you need? The following is a guide to what you need every day to maintain the health and function of your body and mind:

  • Vegetables: Four to five servings daily
  • Fruit: Four to five servings a day
  • Whole grains: Four to six servings a daily
  • Low-fat or fat-free dairy: Two servings a day
  • Nuts, legumes, and seeds: Four to five servings a week
  • Healthy oils and fats: Three servings daily
  • Poultry, fish, or lean meats: Six or fewer servings a day

If you have food allergies, dietary needs, or preferences, tailor your diet to meet your needs. But, make sure you're still giving your body and mind the required nutrients.

The saying "you are what you eat" is accurate. What you feed yourself affects how your mind and body function. Substance use and mental health disorders can determine how you treat your body and your relationship with food. Changing your eating habits can come from discovering your inner conversation with yourself. Seeking help from a therapist and a nutritionist provides you with the opportunity to heal and grow your mind-body connection. At Crownview Co-Occurring Institute, we guide you to understand how psychological or social issues impact your well-being. You can attend individual and holistic therapy sessions to find the connection between your mind and body. Our wellness team can advise you on incorporating exercise and nutrition into your daily routine. You will find yourself as you heal and grow at our peaceful location in San Diego, CA.

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woman with therapist during inpatient treatment

When is Psychiatric Inpatient Residential Treatment the Right Choice?

Mental health treatment is an important topic in the U.S. right now.

Two and a half years of stress and disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic and various other social and political factors have increased the need for effective, evidence-based treatment for mental health, behavioral, and/or alcohol/substance use disorders. If you or someone you love developed a mental health or addiction problem during the pandemic – or if the pandemic exacerbated a previously diagnosed disorder – you may not know which type of treatment offers the best hope of recovery.

We can help.

This article will address the two most immersive levels of mental health/addiction treatment available: psychiatric inpatient residential treatment and inpatient psychiatric hospitalization.

We’ll define both levels of care, explain the difference(s) between psychiatric inpatient residential treatment and inpatient psychiatric hospitalization, and identify the reasons a person with a serious mental health disorder might choose treatment at a psychiatric inpatient residential treatment center rather than an inpatient psychiatric hospitalization program.

Before we get into the details about these levels of care, however, we need to ensure everyone reading this article understands the scope of the problem at hand. To that end, we’ll present the latest facts and figures on mental health in the U.S. and the world, with an emphasis on the increase in mental health disorders and overall psychological distress reported since the beginning of the pandemic.

Mental Health in the U.S. and the World: Facts and Figures

We’ll start with a narrow focus: the six-month period between August 2020 and February 2021. In a report published in late 2021, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicate that during that six-month, mid-pandemic period:

  • The percentage of adults with symptoms of anxiety or depression increased from 36.4% to 41.5%
  • The percentage of adults with unmet mental health care needs increased from 9.2% to 11.7%
  • Young adults 18-29 experienced the greatest increases in symptoms of anxiety and depression

Keep in mind those statistics are for the U.S. and cover a relatively short period of time. Now let’s expand our scope and look at a large-scale meta-analysis performed in the United Kingdom (U.K.) that includes data on almost 50,000 people collected between 2006 and 2021. Note: a meta-analysis includes data from the most relevant studies on a specific topic in order to identify trends or changes over time. This meta-analysis used data from eleven separate studies on psychological distress based on measures of depression and anxiety among adults in the U.K. before and after the pandemic.

Before and After: Mental Health and the Pandemic

  • One study showed an increase of 16.5%:
    • Pre-pandemic: 11.5% of adults reported symptoms of anxiety or depression
    • Post-pandemic: 28.0% of adults reported symptoms of anxiety or depression
  • Another showed an increase of 22.6%
    • Pre-pandemic: 11.4% of adults reported symptoms of anxiety or depression
    • Post-pandemic: 35.0 .0% of adults reported symptoms of anxiety or depression

Now let’s look at a report from World Health Organization (WHO), which identified increases similar to those found in the U.K.:

  • During the first year of the pandemic, worldwide prevalence of anxiety and depression increased 25%
  • Women and young adults reported the largest increases

We’ll end with data from closer to home, extracted from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), an annual, large-scale survey that includes data collected from over 70,000 people in the U.S> every year. The following statistics appear in the 2018 NSDUH and the 2020 NSDUH, and include information on substance use disorder (SUD) as well as mental health disorders.

Mental Health Disorders and Substance Use Disorder (SUD) in the United States: 2018 and 2020

  • Diagnosed with mental illness:
    • 2018: 47.6 million adults
    • 2020: 52.9 million adults
  • Diagnosed with serious mental illness:
    • 2018: 11.4 million adults
    • 2020: 14.2 million adults
  • Among those diagnosed with mental illness:
    • 2018: 9.2 million also had SUD
    • 2020: 17 million also had SUD
  • Among those diagnosed with serious mental illness:
    • 2018: 3.1 million also had SUD
    • 2020: 7 million also had SUD

This last set of numbers give us valuable information and clearly outline the scope of the mental health and addiction problem in the U.S. For the two years for which we have reliable before and after data, we can see significant increases in people with mental illness and serious mental illness. And among those, we see the number of people diagnosed with a mental illness and an SUD – called co-occurring disorders or dual diagnosis – almost doubled.

That’s why we’re writing this article. The statistics demonstrate a significant need for increased mental health support in the U.S., specifically for people with serious mental illness and a co-occurring substance use disorder.

We’ll now talk about how psychiatric inpatient residential treatment – as opposed to inpatient psychiatric hospitalization – might be an appropriate choice for someone support for a mental health disorder, a substance use disorder, or both, i.e. co-occurring disorders.

Psychiatric Inpatient Residential Treatment or Inpatient Psychiatric Hospitalization: What’s the Difference?

There are significant differences between psychiatric inpatient residential treatment and inpatient psychiatric hospitalization, but let’s start with one thing they have in common: the inpatient component. What inpatient means is that the individual in treatment lives at the treatment center or hospital and receives 24/7 medical support and monitoring.

In mental health and addiction treatment, inpatient means the same thing: the individual lives on-site and receives 24/7 support and monitoring during treatment. However, after that basic similarity, these two levels of care diverge. The relative divergences are primarily related to the overall goals of treatment and how clinicians and staff help individuals meet those goals.

Before we describe these differences, we need to add a disclaimer. This article is neither a diagnosis nor medical advice. Licensed and qualified mental health professionals such as psychiatrists and therapists are the only people who can diagnose a mental health and/or substance use disorder and refer you or a loved one for mental health treatment. This is an essential step you can’t skip. If you think you need or a loved one needs psychiatric inpatient residential treatment or inpatient psychiatric hospitalization, we recommend arranging a full biopsychosocial evaluation administered by a licensed and qualified mental health professional: that’s the first step toward recovery.

Now let’s talk about these two levels of care, starting with inpatient psychiatric hospitalization.

Inpatient Psychiatric Hospitalization

  • Goals:
    • Safety
    • Stability
  • Population:
    • People with mental health disorders or mental health-related behaviors that put them in imminent danger or expose friends, family members, or anyone else to immediate risk of harm
  • May be necessary when:
    • Symptoms, emotions, or behaviors associated with a mental health disorder place an individual at personal physical risk
    • Symptoms, emotions, or behaviors associated with a mental health disorder are disruptive enough to prevent them from participating in the typical activities of daily life and functioning
  • May be mandatory and involuntary when:
    • An individual in crisis needs close physical and medical monitoring until the crisis passes
  • Length of stay:
    • 3-10 days
    • Longer in some cases

There are three operative words to consider then thinking about inpatient psychiatric hospitalization: safety, stability, and crisis. A person who is aggressive or violent, actively suicidal, or engages in excessively risky behavior as a result of their mental health or substance use disorder may need inpatient psychiatric hospitalization. If an individual arrives at an emergency room during a mental health or addiction crisis, an on-call psychiatrist may order a mandatory, involuntary referral for inpatient psychiatric hospitalization for the duration of the crisis. When medical staff determines that individual is safe, stable, no longer in crisis, and no longer a threat to themselves or others, they discharge that individual to a less immersive – and typically voluntary – level of care.

We can sum that up: if you’re in active crisis and a risk to yourself or others, inpatient psychiatric hospitalization may be appropriate. If you’re not in active crisis and don’t present an immediate risk to yourself or others, then psychiatric inpatient residential treatment may be appropriate.

We’ll talk about that level of care now.

Psychiatric Inpatient Residential Treatment

  • Goals:
    • Safety
    • Stability
    • Recovery
    • Therapy
    • Skill-building
    • Lifestyle change
    • Independence
    • Reintegration
  • Population:
    • People with mental health disorders or mental health-related symptoms and/or behaviors that are extremely severe, disruptive, and uncomfortable
    • People with mental health disorders or mental health-related symptoms and/or behaviors that prevent them from meeting the obligations or participating in the typical activities of daily life.
      • Typical daily activities include work, school, family life, social life, and personal hygiene
    • May be necessary when:
      • Symptoms, emotions, or behaviors associated with a mental health disorder prevent an individual from meeting their personal needs
      • Symptoms, emotions, or behaviors associated with a mental health disorder prevent an individual from meeting family, work, or school obligations
    • Psychiatric inpatient residential treatment is always voluntary
    • Length of stay:
      • 3-6 weeks
      • Typical time-in-treatment is around one month

Although this is an oversimplification, the one operative word to think about when comparing psychiatric inpatient residential treatment to inpatient psychiatric hospitalization is time. Hospitalization is not really about therapy and recovery: it’s about getting a person past a crisis so they can then participate in the types of therapy and recovery offered in residential treatment, which we’ll talk about in more detail now.

What Happens During Psychiatric Inpatient Residential Treatment?

Upon admission and intake to a high-quality psychiatric inpatient residential treatment program, you receive a full biopsychosocial evaluation and psychiatric assessment. Based on the results of your admissions interviews and intake assessments, you then collaborate with treatment center staff on an individual treatment plan that leverages your strengths, recognizes your challenge areas, and gives you the best chance at achieving sustainable, lifelong recovery.

In a top-quality treatment center, your individualized treatment plan will include a combination of the following:

  • Therapy:
    • Individual
    • Group
    • Family
  • Common therapeutic approaches include:
    • Dialectic behavioral therapy (DBT)
    • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
    • Trauma-informed DBT and/or CBT
  • Lifestyle supports, including:
    • Nutrition counseling
    • Recreation/exercise
    • Stress management techniques
    • Mindfulness/meditation
  • Experiential therapies, including:
    • Outdoor recreation
    • Equine therapy (horses)
  • Medication, as needed

The specific elements of your treatment plan depend on your unique treatment needs and goals. What works for one person might not work for another. What works when you initiate your plan might change as you make progress in treatment, and the plan you begin with may be different than the plan you follow upon discharge.

The length of time you spend in a psychiatric inpatient residential treatment program also depends on you and the therapeutic milestones you set with your treatment team upon admission and intake. When you and your treatment team decide you’re ready for a less immersive level of care, you create a plan, set a discharge date, and prepare your transition.

Which Option is Best for You?

The answer to that question should be the result of communication and collaboration between you, your family, and your treatment team.

If you or a family member are in mental health or addiction crisis, please dial 988, the National Mental Health Crisis Hotline.

If you’re not in crisis, but know you need – or a family member needs – immersive treatment for a mental health or substance use disorder, then you can use this article to help make your decision.

The information above shows that psychiatric inpatient residential treatment and inpatient psychiatric hospitalization are quite different. While both support the ultimate goal – recovery – one is about short-term stabilization, while the other is about long-term treatment and growth.

During psychiatric inpatient residential treatment, you have the time and space to focus on therapy and healing. You’re free from the distractions of daily life, which allows you to direct your energy toward creating new psychological, emotional, and interpersonal skills. You receive around the clock medical monitoring in case of emergency, just as you would during a hospital stay, but your days are filled with therapy, treatment, and recovery activities. Your evenings are often busy: community support meetings, recovery homework, or additional group activities and educational workshops all coordinate to help you meet your treatment goals.

If that level of immersive support and care sounds like what you need, or what a loved one needs, then you may have the answer to the question we pose in the title of this article:

When is Psychiatric Inpatient Residential Treatment the Right Choice?

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Everything You Need to Know About Psychosis

Everything You Need to Know About Psychosis

What do you know about psychosis? You're not alone if you aren't sure what it is or why it occurs. A mental health disorder was once thought to be the cause of symptoms of psychosis. However, this theory may not always be accurate. Instead, there are many thoughts about why someone has a psychosis episode.

The Definition of Psychosis

Take a moment to think about how you see your environment. Look around; what do you see? Think about not seeing what those around you see and experience, people who perceive things or see their surroundings differently.

The terms for psychosis vary. Some people describe psychosis as “psychotic symptoms,” “psychotic experiences,” or “psychotic episodes.” Most people refer to a break from reality or losing contact with reality in a psychotic episode. The definition remains the same regardless of the term used to describe psychosis.

Psychosis is a symptom, not a diagnosis of a mental health disorder. Psychosis is used to characterize conditions affecting the mind. More succinctly, psychosis is when you have a break or lose contact with reality. During an episode, you may experience disturbing thoughts or perceptions which affect your ability to understand what is real and not real. Prolonged symptoms of psychosis can lead to a schizophrenic or bipolar disorder diagnosis.

Causes of Psychosis

Researchers are not sure what causes psychosis. However, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), there are approximately 100,000 new cases of psychosis every year. Your gender, ethnicity, and socio-economic status don't matter, as psychosis can begin in your late teens or early twenties.

Potential Triggers

While researchers don't know what causes psychosis, they have several theories of what can create a break from reality. One theory of the cause of psychosis is your life experiences can increase the risk of a psychotic episode. Unfortunately, many life experiences are beyond your control, so preventing psychosis is out of your control.

Examples of life experiences are:

  • Homelessness
  • Delirium, a state of mental confusion caused by severe physical illness or surgery
  • Grief
  • Childbirth
  • Racism

The following are potential factors for a psychotic episode:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Medical conditions
  • Specific medicines
  • An alcohol or drug use disorder or withdrawal from substances

Researchers also think other variables include:

  • Neurological conditions like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease, or dementia
  • A brain injury
  • Side effects from prescription medications
  • Menopause
  • Or instances of heightened stress or anxiety

Symptoms of Psychosis

Signs of psychosis can occur before you develop psychosis. While you can't prevent psychotic episodes, you can pay attention to changes in your behavior. Some early warning signs of psychosis — if you're in your late teens to early twenties — include:

  • A sudden decrease in your grades or work performance
  • New difficulty concentrating or thinking clearly
  • Paranoid thoughts, suspiciousness, or feeling uneasy with people
  • Withdrawing or isolating yourself from others
  • Strange feelings, intense or unusual new thoughts, or a lack of feelings altogether
  • A lack of hygiene or self-care
  • Hallucinations like hearing or seeing things that aren't real, such as believing you're being followed or spied on by government agencies or others
  • Delusions (false beliefs) like the impression that you're being poisoned or your thoughts are being monitored because of a chip in your head
  • Difficulty communicating
  • Speech or behavior that is difficult to understand, inappropriate for the situation, or nonsensical

You may also experience depression, anxiety, or other mental health disorders like schizophrenia. During a psychotic episode, you may seem aggressive, unpredictable, or violent to others. However, you're more at risk of hurting yourself than others. Beginning treatment during the early phases of psychosis is vital. Early treatment increases your chance of a more effective recovery. Treatment that includes prescriptions and therapy can help you cope with the symptoms and allow you to have a fulfilling life.

First Episode Psychosis

First episode psychosis (FEP) most often occurs in early adulthood. Usually, before FEP appears, there is a period when your grasp on reality breaks or slips away.

Treatments for Psychosis

The NIMH reports that most people will experience psychotic symptoms for up to a year before they seek treatment. Those diagnosed in the early stages can benefit from several types of treatment, including specialty care. The NIMH launched a research program to study coordinated specialty care and the best interventions for those experiencing early psychosis. The NIHM describes coordinated specialty care as a treatment that consists of:

  • Therapies like individual or group therapy based on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Family education and support groups that teach loved ones about psychosis and ways for family members to problem-solve, communicate, or cope with a loved one diagnosed with psychosis
  • Medication management
  • Services that help you return to work or school and reach your goals
  • Case management

Experiencing a psychotic episode is life-changing. You may feel out of control of your life and not know where you can turn to for help. However, if you think you have experienced psychosis or have warning signs of psychosis, you can find the support and treatment you need. Crownview Co-Occurring Institute, located in San Diego, CA, provides the care and support necessary for healing. Our comprehensive, specialty coordinated care program provides the opportunity to understand and live with your psychosis. Then, with the guidance of your therapist, you can create a treatment plan that focuses on your individual needs. Crownview Co-Occurring Institute believes in its clients and strives to provide the highest quality care. We welcome your questions about our treatment philosophy, location, and staff.

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Psychotherapy and Mental Health

Psychotherapy and Mental Health

The time to rethink therapy is now. Mental health treatment doesn't mean passively lying on the couch talking while your therapist sits and writes notes. Instead, psychotherapy — or talk therapy — is engaging and tailored to meet your needs.


You may wonder how psychotherapy works. Psychotherapy is an evidence-based approach to several mental health disorders. People use psychotherapy to define a general process to address harmful thoughts, behaviors, or emotions. While in psychotherapy sessions, your therapist will engage you in verbal and psychological techniques. Your therapy sessions focus on a specific mental health disorder or a stressor in your life.

Your mental health diagnosis determines the type of talk therapy you will receive. This is because there are a wide variety of strategies used to address your specific type of mental health issue. Yet, regardless of your diagnosis, every type of psychotherapy is based on a client-therapist relationship. A healthy therapeutic relationship includes open communication, trust, a healthy dialogue, and working together to overcome harmful thoughts or behaviors.

The field of psychotherapy is considered a separate category in mental health approaches. For this reason, you need to undergo talk therapy with a certified therapist. Therefore, before you begin psychotherapy, make sure your therapist is a licensed expert in their field.

Reasons to Seek Psychotherapy

There are several reasons why people reach out for help with their mental health. If you have any doubts about the cause of physical or emotional issues, you can schedule an appointment with your doctor to rule out potential health issues. A wellness check appointment can determine if therapy could help your physical and emotional health.

You can schedule an appointment with a professionally trained therapist and your doctor. Appointments with a therapist and a doctor can identify and focus on physical and mental health issues. Some reasons to seek help from a doctor or a psychotherapist are:

  • Severe or long-term stress: You may experience pressure from your job, the loss of a loved one, family problems, or relationship issues.
  • Health issues that don't have physical explanations: These symptoms can include loss of appetite, sleep, decreased energy, hopelessness, or a lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed.
  • Your doctor can diagnose a mental health disorder: When you see your doctor, they may suspect you have or diagnose you with depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or other mental health issues.

Most doctors who suspect you have or diagnosed you with a mental health disorder will recommend you go to a therapist. Once a psychotherapist diagnoses a mental health disorder, you can discuss treatment.

Forms of Psychotherapy

The style or type of psychotherapy you receive depends on your therapist's treatment style or the type you need. However, you will receive one of these forms of therapy:

  • Individual therapy: One-on-one sessions with your therapist
  • Couples therapy: Relational therapy for you and your significant other where you work with a therapist together to identify and address damaging behaviors
  • Family therapy: Similar to couples therapy in that it focuses on improving your relationship with loved ones
  • Group therapy: Involves receiving support from a group of people who are working toward building healthy outcomes for common goals

All forms of psychotherapy include various elements. Some of these elements are:

  • Ways to help you become aware of how your thoughts and behaviors can damage your self-confidence
  • Learning to identify and cope with stress by creating healthy problem-solving and coping strategies
  • Journaling your behaviors and emotions to help you connect how each affects the other

Within these forms of therapy are specific approaches for certain types of mental health diagnoses. In addition, each psychotherapy technique focuses on helping you learn healthy coping skills.

Psychotherapy Techniques

The distinct form of psychotherapy used in your therapy sessions is tailored to meet your unique needs. Two psychotherapy techniques often used in sessions include CBT and DBT.

#1. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) focuses on replacing negative thoughts and behaviors with healthy alternatives. Psychotherapists often use CBT when they diagnose the following:

  • Anxiety disorders: Therapists can combine CBT with medication therapy to help with anxiety.
  • Bipolar disorder: CBT helps those with bipolar disorder learn to identify and change destructive behaviors and emotions. Often, CBT is combined with medication. Your therapist may also decide on using other treatment options to increase the benefits of CBT. Some possibilities are trans-cranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), exercise, and proper nutrition.

#2. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) evolved from CBT. DBT aims to teach you how to live in the present and build healthy coping skills for stress and emotional upheaval. Psychotherapists developed DBT to address borderline personality disorder (BPD). Over time, DBT evolved and is used to benefit those with:

Psychotherapy is a healthy process that can help you identify and learn how to use healthy coping skills for your mental health diagnosis.

Psychotherapy is an integral part of your goal to build a healthier life. For talk therapy to work, you should have open, honest conversations with your therapist about your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Throughout your sessions, stay true to who you are while allowing yourself to feel your emotions. You can be open to the process without losing yourself. You can work toward your goals when you let go of emotions like stress, grief, depression, or anxiety. Finding healthy ways to move toward your future is possible with the support of the therapists at Crownview Co-Occurring Institute. Our program incorporates evidence-based therapies like TMS, CBT, and DBT with holistic treatments. Your mental and physical health can begin to heal through our comprehensive care programs. We want you to develop the skills necessary to live the life you deserve.

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Biofeedback: How Our Bodies Work

Biofeedback: How Our Bodies Work

Biofeedback is a mind-body technique where clients learn how to transform their physiology to enhance physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. It involves using visual and auditory feedback to teach individuals to recognize signs and symptoms of anxiety or stress, such as muscle tension, increased heart rate, or increased body temperature.

Like physical therapy, biofeedback techniques require the client’s active engagement with consistent practice between training sessions. When the client puts in the work, clinical biofeedback can help manage mental health symptoms and improve overall health and wellness.

The National Institute of Complementary and Alternative Medicine acknowledges biofeedback as one of the mind-body therapies, and many therapists and clients consider biofeedback as complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).

Techniques of Biofeedback

Biofeedback is a type of training rather than a treatment. With practice, biofeedback can help individuals cultivate new skills that can help them cope with various health conditions.

A typical biofeedback session lasts between 30 and 60 minutes, with a course of treatment lasting four to six sessions. The extent of therapy and sessions required is contingent on many considerations, including:

  • How the client responds to the training
  • The condition being treated
  • The goals for treatment

Uses for Biofeedback

Biofeedback aims to change the body by learning how to control the physical and psychological effects of stress. This could involve relaxing specific muscles, slowing the heart rate, or reducing feelings of pain.

Therapists can incorporate biofeedback techniques into the client’s treatment plan for various conditions. It is often used to manage stress and anxiety as a primary illness or due to a co-occurring disorder.

There is specific evidence to support the use of biofeedback for particular conditions, including the following:

  • Constipation
  • Bowel incontinence
  • Urinary control
  • Anxiety
  • Chronic pain, such as chronic lower back pain, and chronic pelvic pain
  • Chronic insomnia
  • Migraine headaches
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Epilepsy
  • Motion sickness
  • Depression
  • Raynaud phenomenon

Types of Biofeedback

There are many types of biofeedback training. Some of the most popular forms include neurofeedback or electroencephalograph (EEG), electromyography (EMG), and heart rate variability (HRV).


Neurofeedback, also known as EEG biofeedback, trains individuals in the self-control areas of the brain by calculating waves and providing a feedback signal. Neurofeedback usually provides audio and or video feedback. Positive or negative feedback is created for wanted or unwanted brain activities.

Electromyography Biofeedback

EMG biofeedback is used for various conditions such as tension headache, chronic pain, cervical dystonia, and jaw dysfunction. The device detects variations in muscle tension by monitoring electrical activity that results in muscle contractions.

Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback

HRV biofeedback helps the client obtain awareness of their involuntary HRV, learn to breathe slowly and sense positive emotions to manage their HRV, and eventually decrease stress, anxiety, and depressive symptoms.

The chosen biofeedback approach will depend on what the client wishes to accomplish with biofeedback therapy.

Benefits of Biofeedback

Like other treatment approaches, biofeedback has advantages and disadvantages. It may not be suitable for everyone, so it is essential to consider the benefits and risks before determining if it is the best choice for your situation.

Some of the benefits of biofeedback include:

  • Better control over emotions: Biofeedback teaches individuals how to control their reactions in stressful situations, helping them feel more in control and better equipped to manage the stress they may encounter in their daily life or the anxiety that results from other mental health conditions.
  • Non-invasive procedure: Biofeedback may be requested when other treatment approaches are ineffective or when individuals cannot take certain medications, as biofeedback is non-invasive.

Some Things to Consider

Biofeedback is generally safe and can be used on clients of any age; however, it might not be appropriate or effective for everyone. Below are a few guidelines to determine if biofeedback is a suitable choice for you.

  • The client must be able to actively participate, so it may not be an appropriate procedure if the client cannot understand and follow directions.
  • It is not suitable in cases where the client has complete paralysis.
  • Biofeedback may not be the only treatment for severe hypertension, so it is best to explore other alternatives first.
  • It should be used with caution in acute psychiatric clients.
  • Biofeedback devices might not work correctly on clients with certain medical conditions, such as heart rhythm issues or skin conditions.

If biofeedback sounds right for you or someone you love, ask your primary care provider for a referral and verify the therapist's experience. It is also beneficial to contact your health insurance provider to confirm if they will cover any costs of biofeedback treatment.

Biofeedback is a mind-body technique where individuals discover how to modify their physiology to enhance physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. If you are ready to take control of your body, we are here to help. Crownview Co-Occurring Institute in San Diego, CA, offers unique treatment plans tailored to meet the individual needs of our clients. We specialize in psychiatric care for multiple levels of mental health disorders. Here, we will support you from crisis to independence by providing a healing, nurturing environment with a devoted team of professionals ready to help you regain control of your life. We offer treatment plans to meet every physical and emotional need for long-term recovery. Let Crownview Co-Occurring Institute help you achieve success through our evidence-based treatment services.

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What Is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation?

What Is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation?

Major depression is a significant contributor to disability worldwide and can be challenging to diagnose correctly. Even when it is accurately analyzed, standard treatment approaches such as psychotherapy and medication are sometimes insufficient in controlling depressive symptoms.

When psychotherapy, medication, or the combination of the two fails to improve depressive symptoms, it results in treatment-resistant depression (TRD). TRD leads to poor functional consequences in clients, such as increased unemployment, suicidal thoughts or ideations, substance abuse, or erratic relationships. Fortunately, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) has proven to be a success in treating clients with TRD.

TMS is a non-invasive procedure that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain to improve symptoms of depression and other mental health conditions, typically when other therapies have been unsuccessful.

In 2008, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first TMS device to treat major depressive disorder (MDD). Today, several devices have governing authorization in the U.S. and internationally in treating various mental health disorders.

How Does Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Work?

During a TMS session, an electromagnetic coil is positioned against the scalp near your forehead where the prefrontal cortex is located. The electromagnet sends a magnetic pulse that stimulates nerve cells in the region of your brain associated with depression and mood control.

Each TMS session is approximately 30 to 40 minutes and does not involve sedation or anesthesia, so the client is entirely awake. Since it is an outpatient process, clients can drive themselves to and from treatment without constraints.

The biology of why TMS works is through activating regions of the brain that have decreased activity in depression. The stimulation impacts how the brain works, which in turn eases depression symptoms and improves mood.

There are different ways to administer the procedure, and techniques may change as researchers discover the most effective ways to implement TMS treatments.

Types of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

Over the years, TMS has gained substantial attention as a potential alternative treatment for specific conditions. Though TMS was developed approximately 30 years ago as an instrument to treat major depression, TMS has now been extensively examined for effectiveness in treating various mental health disorders, depending on the type of TMS administered.

Two types of TMS are commonly used for different mental health conditions. The two types are repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation and deep transcranial magnetic stimulation. The FDA has approved each type of TMS for treating depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and other mental health disorders.

Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) and TMS are often interchangeable. Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation applies recurring TMS pulses to a specific brain region. It involves placing a small device containing a coil of wire directly onto the skull. The wire transfers electricity and generates a magnetic field to produce a harmonizing effect on cortical impulsiveness.

Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

Deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (dTMS) is similar to rTMS in that the coil is placed on the skull, creating the magnetic field. However, in dTMS, the coil allows the pulse to penetrate deeper into the brain.

What Can Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Be Used For?

The impact TMS has on an individual will be dependent on which type of TMS is applied and the mental health condition being treated. For instance, research implies that rTMS can successfully treat depression, while dTMS is more effective in treating OCD.

The electricity traveling through the TMS device stimulates neurons in the brain and changes their activity levels. Due to alternating activity levels, TMS can be beneficial for additional mental health conditions, including:

  • Treatment-resistant depression (TRD)
  • OCD
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Tourette disorder
  • Chronic pain syndrome
  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Parkinson's disease, functional tremors, focal epilepsy, cortical myoclonus, and spasticity

Although there are currently several effective medical and psychological treatments for each mental health condition listed, some individuals are treatment-resistant and may need to look for new ways to treat their symptoms.

Getting the Most From Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

The following suggestions can help achieve success to ensure the client receives the best outcomes of their TMS sessions:

  • Listen to your health care provider: Follow your doctor’s instructions about preparations required before and during the administration of TMS.
  • Confirm insurance coverage: Some insurance plans will cover the cost of TMS treatment, but always check the policy beforehand.
  • Don’t give up: Consistency is necessary because TMS may require several treatments before feeling the effects over a certain amount of time.

TMS can be life-changing for managing TRD and other mental health conditions. Its non-invasive technique and low risk of side effects may be an ideal option for treatment in specific clients suffering from symptoms.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a safe and effective treatment option for depression and displays great potential in treating other mental health conditions. If you or a loved one could benefit from TMS, we want to help. Crownview Co-Occurring Institute in San Diego, CA, offers quality psychiatric treatment for many levels of mental health conditions. We provide an individualized approach that makes sure each client receives the care they deserve. We understand how overwhelming life can be when struggling with your mental health, and we are here to support you from crisis to independence. Our compassionate team members in our healing environment will help you regain control of your life through tailored treatment plans with evidence-based services. Let Crownview Co-Occurring Institute help you achieve long-term recovery.

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Why Mindfulness Matters

Why Mindfulness Matters

You watch a webinar while working on a project due for work. You join in on a conference call while driving on your way to run a few errands. You scroll through social media while your favorite television series plays in the background. Does this sound familiar?

Juggling your time and attention has made many self-proclaimed multitaskers believe they are lacking if they fail to complete the myriad of tasks demanded of them in daily schedules.

The concept that multitasking is a positive life and work skill has resulted in many individuals feeling overly stressed, anxious, depressed, and inadequate, all while damaging their mental health.

Therefore, with this decline in mental health, it is time to adjust your focus from multitasking and turn the lens toward the significance of mindfulness.

Why Does Mindfulness Matter?

Over the past few decades, the interest in mindfulness meditation as a psychological concept and clinical intervention has attracted increasing cultural and scientific significance.

The elements of mindfulness, such as awareness and non-judgmental acceptance, are theoretically effective remedies against anxiety, worry, fear, or anger.

When thinking of mindfulness meditation, you may immediately envision closing your eyes, sitting still and cross-legged in the chaos surrounding you, and reciting the well-known “om” expression. While this does describe the practice of meditation, there is much more to understand.

Scientific research on mindfulness has reported associations between self-reported mindfulness and psychological health. Science has provided essential information regarding how mindfulness meditation positively impacts a person’s well-being.

Mindfulness-based intervention can:

  • Be helpful for anxiety and depression
  • Reduce symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Reduce insomnia and improve sleep patterns, similar to cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Help individuals recover from substance use disorder (SUD) by increasing awareness of thoughts and feelings that can trigger cravings and developing coping skills to decrease their impulsive responses to cravings
  • Improve mental health in individuals with cancer
  • Have little to no risks

Additionally, mindfulness-based meditation implies potential benefits for losing weight and managing eating patterns through programs combining formal and informal mindfulness exercises.

Through modern-day methods, endless thoughts consume the brain while simultaneously engaging in internal dialogue and surrounding situations. However, with mindfulness, we decide on the ideas to which we are most attentive.

Being mindful doesn’t mean neglecting negative thoughts entirely. Instead, it means acknowledging negative ideas and letting go of their power in the mind, creating more space for positive thoughts and affirmations. When individuals learn to react positively, they can respond to negative situations more productively.

Practicing Mindfulness

Like anything else, becoming more mindful requires training. Ways to practice mindfulness can include various meditation practices. Some simple ways to apply mindfulness include:

  • Breathing exercises: Take deep breaths. Practice breathing in through your nose while counting to four. Hold for one second, and exhale through your mouth while counting to five.
  • Enjoying a stroll: Walk on a nature trail as you pay attention to breathing patterns and sights or sounds surrounding you. When negative feelings or worries enter your thought processes, acknowledge them, but remember to return to the present moment.
  • Eating a well-rounded and healthy meal: Be mindful of the taste and texture of each bite. Listen to your body when it is hungry and full.
  • Sensory impressions: Do a body scan and bring awareness to how each area of your body feels. Completing a body scan can connect your mind and body from head to toe.

The critical thing to remember when applying mindfulness is to pay attention to what is happening in the current moment. Instead of placing all your attention on what will happen in the future or dwelling in the past, take time to embrace the present moment.

Benefits of Mindfulness for Mental Health

Some possible benefits of mindfulness include reduced stress, decreased depression, improved memory, and reinforced relationships. Below is a detailed description of how mindfulness benefits mental health.

Increased Emotion Regulation

Emotional regulation signifies the ability to wield authority over your own emotions. Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) integrates elements of mindfulness with CBT and emotional regulation. Research implies that DBT can be successful in helping individuals manage emotions.

Decreased Depression

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) incorporates CBT with mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) to help reduce symptoms of depression and prevent symptoms from returning.

Decreased Stress and Anxiety

Mindfulness approaches have been adjusted particularly for treating signs of stress. MBSRs use combined elements of mindfulness and yoga and can help individuals manage thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that contribute to feelings of stress or anxiety.

Mindfulness can be a powerful wellness tool with many benefits. Learning to be aware and present in each moment can enhance all aspects of life through mindfulness.

A mindfulness approach to life will create a more intentionally peaceful way of existing in your mind and body while improving all aspects of your well-being. If you or a loved one could benefit from mindfulness-based interventions, we want to help. Crownview Co-Occurring Institute in San Diego, CA, offers various treatment and psychiatric care for several levels of mental health disorders. Here, we provide unique treatment programs guaranteed to deliver high-quality care with proven results. We understand how stressful life can be when struggling with untreated mental health conditions or addiction. We are here to help you recover from crisis and regain independence in a healing environment with a compassionate team of professionals ready to help you take back control of your life.

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How Can Meditation Be Used in Therapy?

How Can Meditation Be Used in Therapy?

Do you know what is so remarkable about meditation? Anyone can do it.

Meditation doesn’t seek to transform individuals into someone they are not but instead trains them in awareness to becoming a healthier version of themselves, physically and mentally.

The Process of Meditation

The goal of meditation is to achieve a state of thoughtless awareness, during which a person is unconsciously mindful of sensations at the present moment.

To appreciate how meditation can impact an individual’s life, one must first understand the knowledge of the Vedic scripts of ancient India, where meditation initially originated. Vedic science implies that humans have three aspects through associated functions: the physical body, the inner faculty (working consciousness), and the deep inner self (nonchanging pure consciousness).

According to Vedic science, the deep inner self activates the inner faculty, which stimulates the physical body. Consequently, meditation provides a “feedback loop” where a conscious connection is formed with the deep inner self, providing inner peace and happiness.

Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years through many religious traditions, and many meditative methods began in Eastern traditions. Since the 1960s, meditation has become popular in Western nations, particularly the United States.

Types of Meditation Used for Therapy

While the 1960s saw substantial research efforts in observing the effects of transcendental meditation, the 1990s took considerable interest in other types of mindfulness meditation which continue to progress into the present.

Some types of meditation engage in keeping a mental focus on a specific sensation or a recurring word or phrase. Others involve the practice of mindfulness, which entails maintaining awareness of the present moment without making decisions.

Most research on the influences of meditation was without much theoretical foundation. It has generally been limited to four types of meditation: transcendental meditation, which is a mantra meditation, along with mindfulness-based approaches such as focused attention meditation, open-monitoring meditation, and loving-kindness meditation.

Transcendental Meditation

Transcendental meditation is a form of meditation that allows the mind to settle in a quiet space and the body into a state of deep sleep.

Those who practice transcendental meditation may encounter less stress and anxiety within minutes. Long-term practice can lead to positive changes, including lower stress levels, reduced anxiety, and positive life satisfaction.

Transcendental meditation focuses on a single mantra repeated silently. The mantra can be different for each individual; those whom complete training programs are usually assigned mantras based on their characteristics.

Focused Attention Meditation

Focused attention meditation practice cultivates attentional control and observational skills, focusing on breathing and seeking to stay in a monitoring state.

When practicing focused attention meditation, the individual remains in the present but focuses entirely on one thing. Usually, the person will concentrate on sounds, visual aids, smells, or breathing patterns. Anything else that may pose as a distraction, such as physical sensations, surrounding noise, or interfering thoughts, must be disregarded by constantly relaying attention to the same focus point.

Open Monitoring Meditation

Contrary to focused attention meditation, open-monitoring meditation trains the person to focus on nothing and hold each sensation similarly.

Open monitoring meditation involves the individual being open to perceiving and observing any feeling or thought without focusing on a concept in mind or a fixed item; therefore, attention is flexible and unrestricted.

Loving-Kindness Meditation

Loving-kindness meditation is a technique that can be used to boost well-being and reduce stress. Individuals who consistently practice loving-kindness meditation can increase their capacity for forgiveness, connection to others, self-acceptance, compassion, sympathy, and unconditional kindness.

Benefits of Practicing Meditation for Mental Health

Throughout the meditation process, increased stresses are absolved, energy is boosted, and health is positively impacted. Scientific research has established a myriad of benefits correlated with the practice of meditation, including:

  • Reduced stress levels
  • Decreased anxiety symptoms
  • Decreased depression
  • Reduced physical and psychological pain
  • Improved memory
  • Increased efficiency
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Healthier heart rate
  • Reduced lactate, cortisol, and epinephrine
  • Decreased metabolism
  • Improved breathing patterns
  • Better oxygen utilization and carbon dioxide elimination
  • Increased melatonin
  • Relative blood flow to the brain
  • Reduced cholesterol
  • Decreased sympathetic overstimulation

In addition, some types of meditation can even physically change a person’s brain and increase parts of the brain associated with problem-solving, mental resilience, and emotional regulation, allowing the individual to become stronger and experience improved mental health overall.

Meditations have remarkable benefits for a plethora of conditions and overall mental health. While many different meditations are efficient, each type offers a unique approach, and some forms may feel more relaxing and comfortable than others. The practice that feels right is the one to practice because those are the ones you will continue to utilize.

Meditation practices have a variety of mental health benefits and may help people improve their quality of life. If you or a loved one is struggling with mental health problems, we want to help. Crownview Co-Occurring Institute in San Diego, CA, offers exceptional care with comprehensive treatment plans tailored to each client's individual needs. We specialize in complex psychiatric conditions, providing the opportunity for clients to learn and practice life and work skills to live independently. Crownview Co-Occurring Institute’s four-phase model of acclimation, resocialization, developing life skills, and obtaining independence promotes healthy modifications while providing a foundation to build toward success. We understand how challenging it can be to manage life, let alone mental health. We are here to support you from crisis to independence in our healing environment with caring team members to meet your needs for a successful recovery.

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What Is Trauma-Informed Therapy?

What Is Trauma-Informed Therapy?

What do you think when you hear the word trauma? Some might think of sexual abuse, battle in a warzone, or natural disasters. While these are common traumas treated regularly, there are many other types of trauma a person can experience, including bullying, physical abuse, emotional neglect, assault, addiction, shame, or a car wreck.

Trauma can mean many different things according to an individual, and no box confines trauma to one set type or one way people will react to a traumatic event. The same event can have a completely different impact on specific individuals, and not everyone who experiences a traumatic event will have subsequent trauma.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5) defines trauma as exposure to an event involving death, serious injury, or sexual abuse in the following ways:

  • A direct encounter with traumatic events
  • Witnessing the traumatic event firsthand as it happens to another individual
  • Discovering that the traumatic event transpired with a family member or friend
  • Encountering excessive exposure to aversive elements of the traumatic event

Trauma-Informed Therapy

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), individual trauma results from an occurrence or set of circumstances experienced by a person as physically and emotionally harmful and has ongoing adverse consequences on the person's physical, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being.

Trauma-informed therapy is a strength-based approach to caring for people with compassion and clarity about boundaries and expectations to avoid unintentionally triggering a trauma or stress response.

Trauma-informed therapy is not about a particular intervention but rather about shaping techniques from the perspective of the individual’s trauma history, needs, and triggers.

Using trauma-informed therapy involves reporting clients' trauma and its impact on their behavior, mental health, and ability to engage in treatment. Trauma-informed therapists assume that a client could have a history of trauma and will take steps to prevent unintentionally triggering or re-traumatizing the client in treatment.

The Guiding Principles of Trauma-Informed Therapy

Trauma-informed therapy follows a set of guiding principles that outline how therapists can work to decrease the possibility of re-traumatization. These principles are established throughout a variety of service settings. Instead of providing a set of procedures, the principles can be understood and applied in ways applicable to a specific type of environment. The fundamental principles essential to a trauma-informed approach are described in detail below.


Ensuring a person's physical and emotional safety is the first critical step to offering trauma-informed therapy. The physical setting is safe and interpersonal relations encourage a feeling of security. A trauma-informed therapist will take steps to ensure that clients feel both physically and emotionally safe in their sessions.

Trustworthiness and Transparency

Trauma-informed therapists are open and honest with clients. Decisions are directed with transparency to construct and conserve trust with clients, family members, and staff.

Peer Support

Peer support is critical in creating safety and hope, building trust, increasing collaboration, and utilizing the client’s lived experiences to support recovery and healing. Peers refers to individuals with lived experiences of trauma and have also been referred to as trauma survivors.

Collaboration and Mutuality

Importance is focused on mutual understanding and leveling power differences between the therapist and client. Trauma-informed therapists aim to empower clients by educating them about their options and giving them an active role in their care. The counselor and client make decisions and share control in the counseling process.

Empowerment, Voice, and Choice

Throughout the counseling sessions, the individuals’ strengths and experiences are acknowledged and built upon to prioritize empowerment and skill-building while providing an environment that allows clients to feel validated and affirmed. The client has choice and control where they understand their rights and responsibilities.

Cultural, Historical, and Gender Issues

Trauma-informed therapists ensure they are educated and up-to-date on research and best practices for working with all types of clients who have experienced trauma. They know each client's unique cultural considerations based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, religion, gender identity, or geography. The therapist will offer access to gender-responsive services, influence the healing value of traditional cultural connections, incorporate policies and protocols that are receptive to the client's racial, ethnic, and cultural needs, and acknowledge and address past trauma.

Benefits of Trauma-Informed Therapy

Many individuals with trauma have trouble maintaining healthy and open relationships. Trauma-informed therapy has many benefits, but the most significant include:

  • It allows clients to participate more fully in their mental health care
  • Clients can develop trusting relationships
  • It can help improve long-term health outcomes for the client
  • It acknowledges the need to understand a client’s life experiences to deliver effective care
  • It can enhance client engagement, treatment adherence, and the well-being of providers and staff

An article from The Open Health Services and Policy Journal provides a consensus definition to help understand a trauma-informed approach. Trauma-informed care is a strengths-based structure grounded in understanding the trauma and responsiveness to the effect. Trauma-informed therapy accentuates physical, psychological, and emotional safety for the client and the counselor. It also produces opportunities for trauma survivors to reconstruct a sense of control and empowerment in their lives.

If you or a loved one has experienced a traumatic experience, consider seeking trauma-informed therapy. Trauma-informed care has significantly improved mental health care communities in supporting those who have gone through traumatic experiences. It has changed the face of modern healthcare and expanded to various service settings. Crownview Co-Occurring Institute in San Diego, CA, offers psychiatric treatment for multiple levels of mental health disorders. We provide individualized care that meets the physical and emotional conditions to concentrate on your plan for a successful long-term recovery. Our personalized approach ensures that each client receives quality care with successful results. We will support you from crisis to independence by providing a healing environment with a caring team of professionals ready to help you gain control of your life. Let us ease the trauma in your life.

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What Is Recreational Therapy?

What Is Recreational Therapy?

There is endless information concerning the importance of an individual’s well-being worldwide. Mental health and wellness have become significant concepts today. Of the many available treatment methods that improve one’s mental health, participation in recreational activities can create an array of positive attributes.

Recreational Therapy: Having Fun While Healing

The American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA) defines recreational therapy as a "systematic process that utilizes recreation and other activity-based interventions to address the needs of individuals with illness and/or disabling conditions, as a means to psychological and physical health, recovery and well-being."

The unique feature of recreational therapy that makes it unlike other treatments is recreational modalities in the designed intervention strategies. Recreational treatment is adapted for each person by their past, present, and future interests and lifestyle.

Activities such as listening to music, taking photos, or even getting a massage are fun and relaxing and may seem ordinary. Still, when applied as a strategy toward treatment in mental health, they become tools for a healthy mindset.

Recreational therapists work with clients to set goals and develop plans to meet their needs. Recreational therapy can take place in a variety of settings, including:

  • Assisted living facilities
  • Sports programs
  • Substance use programs
  • Correctional facilities
  • Community centers
  • Hospitals
  • Schools
  • Inpatient and outpatient mental health facilities and programs
  • Skilled nursing facilities

A little help is all that is needed throughout the wellness journey. We encounter incidents such as mental health disorders, injuries, and diseases that make the mental health journey challenging and discouraging. Once the client can cooperate with a recreational therapist, they are more likely to find the peace of mind they strive for.

Benefits of Recreational Therapy

With recreational therapy, individuals with mental health disorders can approach their day with expressive interest that can be used throughout their lives. Clients can learn coping skills, time management, and social skills and discover community resources to help battle these risk factors.

The Journal of American Art Therapy Association noted that scientific studies have implied that an hour of creative activity can reduce stress and positively affect mental health, regardless of artistic experience.

These organized activities initiate a sense of achievement in individuals. Some other benefits of recreational therapy include:

  • Improved physical, cognitive, and emotional needs
  • Enhanced the quality of life
  • Strengthened social connections
  • Improved functioning and independence
  • Reduced symptoms
  • Developed skills for daily living

Activities in Recreational Therapy

The therapist will match the client’s activities to their personal interests. Some of the activities that may be part of a recreational therapy program include:

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy reduces stress, anxiety, depression, and chronic pain. Massage therapy also releases endorphins and improves self-awareness.

Art Therapy

Art therapy can help individuals discover suppressed emotions and offer a sense of independence while decreasing stress, fear, and anxiety. It can improve the client’s emotional expression, self-esteem, and self-awareness.

Music Therapy

Music therapy helps people manage emotional problems associated with feeling overcome with distress. It allows the individual to put their problems into perspective. Scientific research has revealed that music therapy can influence physiological and psychological processes that improve physical and mental health.


Yoga helps increase awareness and concentration because it is a mind and body practice. It teaches clients how to sustain the attentiveness necessary to remain mentally strong and focused. Yoga can also help decrease stress and anxiety and enhance physical and mental health.

Other types of activities that may be used as therapeutic recreations include:

  • Sports
  • Board games
  • Video games
  • Animal interactions
  • Dancing
  • Gardening
  • Creative writing
  • Storytelling
  • Dramas
  • Cooking classes
  • Community excursions

When an activity is therapeutic, it improves the quality of life and well-being. Recreational therapists access the fun associated with the individual’s desired activity and use it as the means of treatment. They identify barriers and develop plans to help clients manage mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression, or other mental health concerns that often reduce the quality of life.

Why Choose Recreational Therapy?

Working with a recreational therapist can increase mood, cognitive abilities, memory, physical health, and self-confidence. Researchers believe physical movement, creativity, and social interaction help provide these extensive health advantages. Therefore, it is safe to say that recreational therapy has a crucial role in mental health treatment.

If you think recreational therapy could benefit you or someone you love, talk with a healthcare provider about the option of employing the power of play to accomplish a positive mindset and healthy mentality.

Finding additional resources for treatment near you is simple. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offers the behavioral health treatment services locator to help find mental health services that provide specialty care in your area.

Having fun while improving your mental health is possible. Recreational therapy takes activities you enjoy and transforms them into therapeutic techniques to improve your overall well-being. If you think recreational treatment could benefit you or someone you love, Crownview Co-Occurring Institute in San Diego, CA, is here to help you. We provide the necessary assessments to determine the best course of treatment for your mental health. Our devoted team of professionals can provide each client with advanced care to deliver high-quality treatment services. Here, you will know you are in a safe place that offers kindness and compassion for the healing process. We understand the importance of an individualized approach to treatment, so we develop comprehensive treatment plans unique to each client. We specialize in psychiatric conditions, where clients have the opportunity to learn and practice life skills required to take control of their life.

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