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Native American Healing is a method of addiction treatment that is rooted in connectivity, sobriety, and the health of the individual and their community. It calls for abstinence through purification – a detox not only of the body, but also of the mind, in order to allow the client to reconnect spiritually and emotionally with the world around them again.
Native American healing processes also remind the client of their identity which may have been lost in the isolation of addiction. The client rediscovers themselves through adventure-based activities, providing a hands-on environment to help clients take on an active role in their recovery. It drives home principals of reconciliation, reconnection and the belief that one truly can grow and learn from their own stories, both past and future. Through Native American Healing therapies, clients can a new worldview for themselves.
Daniel Winkler, Experiential Therapist at Oxford Treatment Center
You do not need to have Native American heritage to participate in Native American healing programs. One can maintain their personal spiritual beliefs while participating in treatment. Most Native American drug treatment programs follow evidence-based therapies and treatments, such as medical detox, cognitive behavioral therapy, and individual and group counseling, but with a cultural difference.The program at Oxford is inclusive in order to help clients from all walks of life find their purpose again.
Here are some examples of the Native American Healing rituals:
Members seated in a circle to ponder a question or problem. After a brief prayer to begin, a sacred object, such as a talking stick, may be passed around the circle, granting its holder the opportunity to speak, and all others must remain quiet. When that person in finished speaking, the object is passed to the next person in the circle. This creates behaviors of respectful reflection and encourages listening fully before speaking. It helps the patient learn to be less reactive and more engaged.
A tool used for health and healing, the Medicine Wheel embodies all four directions (north, south, east, and west), symbolizing dimensions of health and cycles of life. Used medicinally, movement in the medicine wheel is typically in a clockwise or “sun-wise” direction. Before entering the wheel, patients are often urged to eat or drink something slowly, in the efforts to purge their souls and enter into the experience with a clear mind and pure heart.
A physical example of being refined by fire, the smudging ceremony is representative of cleansing and making pure again. Native American cultures believe that through the burning of sacred plants, such as sage, cedar or lavender, negative energy is removed and balance is restored. Through the act of covering one’s aura in the purifying smoke, you are being cleansed of remaining negative addictions.
Our Oxford Center facility is among a select group to offer a true Native American Healing therapy course. At our campus in Etta, Mississippi, clients can experience drum circles, traditional ceremonies and medicine wheels. Most sessions are held outdoors, on the ropes course, the labyrinth walk, or in the surrounding natural environment, allowing clients to get outside and experience all that their bodies can do.
Additionally, post-residential clients can participate in a one-day-a-week experiential therapy session at Oxford Treatment Center’s Resolutions campus.
By the intentional design of these sessions, clients experience a hands-on exercise in metaphor. By offering clients a new perspective on their own situation, they are guided to reach realizations that they are fully empowered to break out of denial and find motivation for recovery.
Read More from Lindsey Simpkins:
Finding Recovery in Nature
Young Adults @ The Oxford Center