La Ventana Treatment Programs offers our unique style of bringing music into our client’s recovery process through the program we call “Music in Recovery”.

Music has been a part of the human spirit since the beginning of mankind and is usually associated with celebration, community, self-expression, joy, and an overall feeling of life that is positive.

Music is enjoyed by people of all ages, races, religions, and cultures and our Music in Recovery program brings this to the world of addiction.

Music is a form of creative self-expression that encourages the user to communicate in a non-conventional manner. Studies show that when music enters our brain, it triggers the pleasure center that releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter thatinfluences our happiness. Additionally, studies show that music helps with brain development. Learning to play an instrument is believed to increase gray matter volume in certain areas of the brain which results in improvement of brain function such as auditory processing, learning, and memory.

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Many recovering addicts and alcoholics are often filled with shame and guilt while having years of built up blockages that prevent them from positively expressing themselves. By engaging music, users are aided in identifying and coping with past emotional trauma. It allows users to:

  • Examine emotions and self esteem
  • Enhance positivity
  • Empower themselves
  • Improve self-awareness increase attention and concentration
  • Build coping and problem solving strategies
  • Enhance mindfulness and relaxation techniques
  • Improve inter personal skills
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Photo by Oleg Ivanov on Unsplash

Creating, playing and listening to music is an experiential process that allows for the accomplishment of individual goals as well as a method of improving communication with others.

Example: In a drum circle, everyone is paying close attention to what everybody else is doing, they are listening to each other, they are calm and focused, and they are respecting each other’s contribution to the whole song.

Music groups help individuals manage physical,emotional and behavioral problems in a variety of ways including singing, listening and playing music. This is especially beneficial in the beginning stages of recovery, as many people experience a wide array of emotions and need an outlet for their feelings.  Music is also a great way to reduce stress and boost moods, as well as awonderful means to connect with others and build a sense of community.

Music groups help individuals manage physical,emotional and behavioral problems in a variety of ways including singing, listening and playing music. This is especially beneficial in the beginning stages of recovery, as many people experience a wide array of emotions and need an outlet for their feelings.  Music is also a great way to reduce stress and boost moods, as well as awonderful means to connect with others and build a sense of community.

“When I drummed with the other people I got this overwhelming sense of wellness and a feeling of hope and support from the other people in the group.”
– RD

Tentative Schedule

Benefits of Music in Recovery

  • Music provides a number of benefits both physically and mentally
  • Music can reduce stress levels
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Releases endorphins
  • Releases oxytocin which can decrease feelings of loneliness making us feel more connected with the world
  • Decrease symptoms of depression
  • Improve concentration
  • Helps with anxiety and encourages a positive state of mind.
  • Creates community and teaches respect for others

Goals

Clients do not have to be musically inclined, rather to explore a creative outlet, and use the right brain and overcome barriers and create self-esteem and confidence and alternative expression as well. And just to have a really good time too!!

Music and Meditation

One of the hardest things for addicts to overcome is the quieting of the mind. In practicing active listening, the mind is quiet. When playing in a drum circle, the mind is quiet, there is only the music. Music is a form of meditation.

 Research has documented some of the changes that take place while playing music and or drum circles and has found reduced blood pressure, increased immune function as well as increased white blood cell counts.

 In the field of addiction we often see clients unable to embrace their emotions while setting up defense mechanisms which hamper their emotional growth. Rationalizing, lying, stealing, manipulating, denying are just a few of these defense mechanisms and our Music in Recovery program helps our clients to acknowledge these defenses, recognize these defenses, and eventually break down these defenses.

It also increases self-awareness as clients take responsibility for destructive behavior they have done in the past. This leads to raising awareness of community and allows our clients to connect to others and engage in life through friendships, family, intimate relationships and community.

Isolation, a characteristic of addiction, is attacked in our Music in Recovery program and a positive and healthy self-image emerges to continue the path to recovery.

Photo by Alice Moore on Unsplash

Our Music in Recovery program provides our clients with tools to help:

  • Express their feelings
  • Manage and Reduce their Stress and Anxiety
  • Improve their Communication with family, friends and community
  • Promote their overall Wellness
  • Accomplish their individual Goals
  • Create or enhance their Spiritual growth
  • Improve their Emotional Status & Personal development
  • Engage their Pain Management
  • Reduce their Depression
  • Discover their ability to be intimate with others
  • Enhance their self esteem
  • Empower themselves
  • Increase their attention span and concentration
  • Enhance mindfulness
  • Improve their interpersonal skills

La Ventana uses a milieu of music in recovery approaches to incorporate our program into our client’s recovery. We do this with:

  • Listening to music
  • Discussing music
  • Creating music
  • Songwriting
  • Discussing & analyzing lyrics to music with recovery themes
  • Drum Circles
  • Creating bands
  • Singing
  • Playing instruments
  • Centered games
  • Improvising

Our Music in Recovery program helps:

  • Build teamwork as clients rely on each other to create their music.
  • Creates a sense of Community as the team will include some members who are musically talented and others who have little or no musical knowledge or talent. In any event a team must be built to include all members of the music society in the program.
  • To lift the spirits of client’s , feel good about themselves, feel connection to others and demonstrates that you can enjoy life and have fun in sobriety
  • Calm the restlessness in our client’s which produces a mind that is open to recovery
  • Creativity through lyric writing as client’s share their life and share their message they want to send out to the world with the lyrics that are unique to them.
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At La Ventana we have been treating substance abuse for over eleven years and one common denominator we find is that our client’s need to get in touch with their deepest emotions including their family relationships, their interpersonal relationships, their sexual identity and relationships, their trauma experiences, their failures, their successes, and uncover these deepest emotions which are often a root cause of their addiction.

Our Music in Recovery program does just that as our clients move into an emotional state to deal with these deep emotions through music. Getting in touch with our deepest emotions is a big step towards providing the mindset and emotional state to acknowledge, respect, and defeat the disease of addiction.