Integrating the Mind, Body, and Spirit

By Lorie Sirola, LPC, Clinical Director, and
Cari Vanderby, MBA, Director of Business Development
Calvary Healing Center

“The Drum Circle is an ancient form of experiential therapy.  The goal is to use rhythm, which promotes both self-expression and healing.  This rhythm promotes a sacred space to channel emotions and be present in both mind and body.”

A life lived with a sense of belonging and purpose will bring empowerment to an individual. At its core, this belief has the ability to transcend one’s life from merely existing, to fully living. This notion of finding meaning may resonate with many who are struggling with addiction. Getting to that moment of clarity though takes time; strategically dissecting psychological elements that are so enmeshed in one’s thinking is tricky business. What is understood now is that trauma and healing from it plays an important role; not just in helping a person maintain abstinence, but also in helping them truly live in recovery. Toward that end, at Calvary Healing Center, we welcome the opportunity to help those seeking help heal the whole person. We specialize in addiction treatment by incorporating the mind, body, and spirit into long-term recovery. 

Trauma is present for all those struggling with this disease; whether it led them to seek substances or arose from the consequences of their use (even letting go of the relationship with a substance can be traumatic). “We have identified trauma as the common component among patients struggling with addiction. Not only is this important to address, but we must do our part to assist in the healing process if we want to provide the best opportunity for sustained recovery,” Ramsen Kasha, CEO of Calvary Healing Center.

There are many tools used to help care for trauma and not any one tool works best for all people in all situations. We have learned that having the ability and access to a variety of interventions is what allows us to personalize a client’s care. This has led to the inclusion of a variety of methods, from the well-known Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Reiki, to lesser commonly offered ones like Sand Tray, TRE (Trauma Release Exercises) and ART (Accelerated Resolution Therapy). We have even identified the benefit of using certain interventions in group format when they are more traditionally thought of in an individual setting.

Sand Tray Therapy

The healing power of Sand Tray Therapy has evoked clients and staff alike to approach trauma from the subconscious level. Guided by a trained clinician, clients are invited to build a scene and share their world with miniature figurines in a personal sand tray. While this may seem elementary to outsiders unfamiliar with this modality, it truly offers an innovative approach to adults struggling with immense trauma. It provides clients the ability to express emotions in another way, and not rely strictly on talk therapy. Sand Tray Therapy is offered both individually or in a group setting, which is less common in the treatment world. We have seen that using Sand Tray in a group setting often leads to the group participating in both identifying themes and supporting their peers as they begin to process deep seated emotions tied to their experiences. 

Symptoms and emotional distress due to unresolved traumatic memories can arise at any time. Group EMDR is a safe and efficient way to process and heal. EMDR, in individual sessions, is still one of the leading trauma modalities. In a group session, healing happens together by drawing out disturbances, and tapping in calm. This allows clients to focus inward and truly be present to feel their emotions.

Trauma Release Exercises

TRE is a modality that often is considered in residential and partial hospitalization programs. These exercises assist the body in releasing deep muscular patterns of stress, tension and trauma. The exercises safely activate a natural reflex mechanism of shaking or vibrating that releases muscular tension, while calming down the nervous system. Yoga, Reiki, and mindfulness are also modalities that are used to help reduce triggers and emotional wounding, thus reducing the need to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. A newer method we have begun to employ is using TRE for some of the clients who are in our detoxification unit. People who are detoxifying can range from those that just need to sleep and not move much to others who, although their bodies are healing, find that their minds are spinning. This is often accompanied by thoughts tied to the behaviors that led them into treatment. Introducing TRE at the point of detoxification services for the clients who are physically capable has been well received by the clients. It helps them begin the process of healing the whole self earlier in their care than normal.

Somatic Experience Therapy

Somatic Experience therapy (SE) is delivered in an individual session as an alternative therapy aimed at relieving the symptoms of post-traumatic stress and other mental and physical trauma-related health problems. This is accomplished by focusing on the client’s perceived body sensations. The trained therapist and the client will hold space for one another, and practice grounding and body sensations awareness. Aside from tapping into these theories that stem from the mental health world, we also can learn from more ancient and sometimes spiritual-based methods. The Drum Circle, an ancient form of experiential therapy, is always a favorite of clients. The goal is to use rhythm, which promotes both self-expression and healing. This rhythm promotes a sacred space to channel emotions and be present in both mind and body.

Addiction is a powerful disease of the mind, body and spirit. With a trauma informed approach, empowering clients to find healing and regain purpose in life is attainable. As professionals, we must strive to meet clients where they’re at, and offer a practical solution to treating addiction. 

About Calvary Healing Center

Calvary Healing Center has been a leader in the field since 1964, offering a full continuum of care in a safe, compassionate environment. Calvary’s affordable, proven treatment programs address the practical, physical and spiritual aspects of addiction, setting the stage for long-term recovery. All counselors are master’s level, state licensed therapists, and Calvary’s treatment team consists of caring, compassionate staff that present an ideal environment for breaking the bondage of dependency.
For more information about Calvary Healing Center’s full continuum of treatment, visit  or call 602-264-1030.