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Drum Circle and Healing from Addiction

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drum circle addiction healing

Drum circles are an ancient form of experiential therapy. The goal is to use rhythm, which promotes both self-expression and healing. Drumming is a shamanistic art that is used in traditional societies all over the world. Indeed, as a type of treatment, records show that it has been used for thousands of years to help people achieve greater mental, physical and spiritual health. This holistic type of treatment is one that we utilize at New Directions for Women to help women become better acquainted with their higher power.  Drum circle’s are prevalent in cultures all over the world and have become quite popular. Scientists have started to take an interest in drum therapy and its holistic benefits.  “Recent research reviews indicate that drumming accelerates physical healing, boosts the immune system and produces feelings of well-being, a release of emotional trauma, and reintegration of self.”

At New Directions for Women, we believe that drum circles can be an integral part of recovery from substance use disorder, particularly but not limited to Native American women.  Our staff works closely with the Native American community and resource centers, as well as spiritual leaders, like Sparrow Goudey, to ensure this type of experiential treatment is delivered properly to the benefit of our residents.

What Is Drum Therapy?

It is important to first understand what drum therapy is and what happens during a drum circle.  “The ultimate goal is not precise rhythmic articulation or perfection of patterned structure, but the ability to entrain and reach the state of a group mind. It is built on cooperation in the groove.”  As such, each person participating in the drum circle is provided with an instrument, and they are encouraged to use it in a way they see fit. Drum circles are not orchestrated, but pick up on the sounds that the collective mind of the group is trying to create. Hence, each drum circle experience is unique and sounds differently, having different rhythms and sound waves. It is this very uniqueness that makes them so effective for individuals. Drum circle also allows the women at New Directions to come together as a group.  Oftentimes this experiential activity can create a sense of community amongst the women who are in treatment.  Drum circle also allows for women to process any additional worries or concerns that they may not have previously addressed during therapy sessions.  This activity can allow a woman to process any grief or trauma she may have experienced in her lifetime.

A lot of research has been conducted and continues to be done on the effectiveness of drum therapy and there has been a particular focus on how it relates to recovery.  Although the benefits have long been known by shamans and ancient cultures, science is only just beginning to understand how this therapy is significant health benefits.  “Drumming circles have applications as complementary addiction therapy, particularly for repeated relapse and when other counseling modalities have failed.”

When taking part in a drumming circle, relaxation occurs in an individual due to the theta-wave production in the brain. This also synchronizes the brain waves, which leads to further relaxation. Drumming can also be a pleasurable activity for some. Drum circle helps a participant to become more aware of the various preconscious dynamics. To elaborate on what was previously stated, women are able to release emotional trauma.  Emotional trauma is particularly prevalent in people suffering from substance use disorder.  In previous post we referenced that Native American women tend to have higher amounts of emotional trauma, as they have often experienced violence and abuse in their lives. By partaking in a drum circle, women are given the opportunity to alleviate any feelings of self-centeredness, to break through their social isolation and women are able to connect once again with their inner self.  The shamanistic element of drumming therapy allows participants to access a higher power which is an integral part of the 12 Step process.

New Directions for Women is a treatment facility located in California that offers help to women of all ages, pregnant women in any trimester, and women with children.  Founded in 1977, our courageous and visionary founders asked for the help of Newport Beach Junior League members to fulfill their vision of a tranquil home-like facility that would treat women with dignity and respect. Our caring admissions counselors are available 24/7 to take your call and answer any questions you may have on getting help. Reach us by phone at 800-93-WOMEN. We can help. Stay in the loop with New Directions for Women by connecting with us on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

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