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What is Activity Therapy?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Activity therapy is a healing technique that is often employed with people overcoming physical addictions or emotional issues. The main focus of the therapy is to engage the individual in creative endeavors that help to alter the thought processes of the patient in a positive manner. This therapy may take place between a therapist and a single patient or be utilized in a group environment.

Many different types of therapeutic activities can be utilized as part of activity therapy. Learning to play a musical instrument or a new dance move are two common examples of how this therapy works. By providing the patient with something that is both physical and mentally challenging and rewarding, activity therapy makes it possible to shift attention away from the aches, pains, and general discomfort caused by substance abuse, depression, or anxiety.

As the therapy progresses, the patient has the chance to reconnect with the body and mind in ways that may have been obscured as a result of the health issues. People who are undergoing substance withdrawal symptoms may find that the rush of good feeling that comes from the physical activity serves as a reminder of how life was before the addiction took place. At the same time, someone suffering with depression and anxiety may recall what it was like to feel good in settings they had come to avoid due to the debilitating impact of their illness. In both situations, the result is an individual that begins to reclaim a sense of worth and confidence in their ability to overcome.

Group activity therapy provides benefits that may help the patient begin to reactivate a dormant desire to be social. By bonding with others who are also attempting to overcome an addiction or a mental condition, the patient is reminded he or she is not alone. As they support one another in learning how to bowl or play tennis, or to create interesting works of art, the positive reinforcement serves as additional incentive to keep trying on days when things seem especially bleak.

Just about any creative endeavor can be utilized as part of the activity. Along with sports and music therapy group activities, creative writing and journaling can also make a huge impact. By putting thoughts and feelings down in writing, the patient can begin to sort through jumbled emotions and begin to make sense of the current situation. The writing effort can also provide an ongoing record that helps the patient to track the gradual improvement that takes place as the health issue is overcome.

As with any type of therapeutic regimen, the effectiveness of activity therapy will vary from one patient to the next. The rate of progress will also be different for each person involved in the effort. However, as part of an ongoing treatment process, the therapy can help enhance the effectiveness of any other tools utilized by the health care professional.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including The Health Board, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By anon85889 — On May 22, 2010

Good article; basically surmmarizes in a "nutshell," what activity therapy is about.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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