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Drumming Circles and Shamanist Approaches to Substance Abuse Rehabilitation

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Drumming Circles and Shamanist Approaches to Substance Abuse Rehabilitation

Shamanic approaches to substance abuse rehabilitation, such as shamanic journeying and drumming rituals, provide clients with direct access to their traumatic experiences driving their addictive relationships with drugs. Furthermore, these rituals provide a context for direct encounters with helpful ancestor spirits, guides and allies who can help resolve that trauma.

These experiences are healing. They reunite aspects of a client’s mind and body in rituals for soul retrieval or power animal retrieval, placing them directly in direct contact with spiritual forces. Not only are these experiences efficient at addressing addiction issues but they also focus attention on whole-body healing.

The drumbeat and accompanying music can have a powerful impact on someone who is suffering, altering their psychological and physiological states to induce mood swings, altered states of awareness, and an overall feeling of increased energy – commonly referred to as “the drum’s magic”.

Participants in these programs report that drumming produces deep relaxation and a sense of being pulled together, creating a sense of community. It also eases tension and aids in the release of emotional trauma.

Beat The Odds is an evidence-based and trauma-informed program that incorporates drumming activities with group counseling to build core strengths such as focus and listening, team building, leadership skills, managing anger/stress, empathy and gratitude. It has been used in schools with great success for children struggling with inattention, withdrawal/depression, post traumatic stress, anxiety issues, oppositional defiance issues or slow cognitive tempo issues among other behavioral issues.

UCLArts and Healing, a non-profit that offers arts in therapy, hosted its inaugural one-day conference for educators, health professionals, and artists on using arts for stress reduction and illness treatment. This initiative was created with East Coast’s Expressive Therapies Summit to promote greater use of arts within clinical settings.

Daniel Dickerson, associate professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, designed a 12-week program that incorporates drumming into its overall treatment plan. He believes that drumming is more than an art form; it’s a therapeutic tool that helps people become more in tune with their inner spirit and how to reconnect with ancestors and culture.

His approach to recovery, he notes, can be especially helpful for AI/ANs with substance abuse issues as it helps them develop the necessary social skills for sobriety and life success. Addressing the causes of addiction leads to increased self-worth and a deeper commitment to recovery.

This program offers a culturally-based, inclusive, and accessible model of recovery for AI/ANs with substance abuse issues. It draws from fundamental AI/AN traditions and incorporates drumming education and activities as well as gender roles, The Medicine Wheel and 12 Steps education sessions as well as connections to tribal drumming in the community.

Drumming and shamanic treatment can be especially beneficial for AI/ANs with substance abuse issues. It addresses the root causes of addiction, promotes self-worth and commitment to recovery, assists individuals in becoming more aware of their inner spirit and connection to ancestors/culture, decreases drug usage and boosts school participation and performance.

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- Welcome, SoundTherapy.com lowers anxiety 86%, pain 77%, and boosts memory 11-29%. Click on the brain to sign up or share with buttons below to help others:
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