Experiential Therapy & Groups for Women & Girls

By recreating experiences and relationships, experiential therapies help residents to identify and address issues they cannot yet articulate or understand.  The creative process involved in experiential therapies helps to resolve conflicts and problems, develop interpersonal skills, manage behavior, reduce stress, increase self-esteem and self-awareness, and achieve insight.

Spiritual Program

Hope and Strength for Lifelong Recovery

Timberline Knolls offers a spiritually-nurturing recovery environment that welcomes women of all religions, faiths, and beliefs.

Drawing on the personal recovery experiences of several of our team members, the Timberline Knolls staff designed our residential treatment program with emphasis on empowering the spirit. Our holistic treatment approach addresses each woman’s entire being, and supports her potential to cultivate her own spirituality. Spiritual renewal helps each woman find the strength to experience feelings in healthy, adaptive ways that reinforce her connection to a loving, Higher Power.

The Timberline Knolls Spirituality program helps each woman harness the hope she will call on during residential treatment and throughout a lifetime of recovery as she works to:

  • Continually deepen her self-discovery and awareness of her spirit, and
  • Restore her authentic self, full of meaning, purpose, and joy

Building a Spiritual Bridge

Core spiritual programming is woven throughout each woman’s treatment program. Each day the Timberline Knolls community begins the day with a daily devotion; this is followed by a quiet, meditation time for both residents and staff.

Throughout each week residents have multiple opportunities to participate in spiritually-oriented activities both within the Timberline Knolls community and off-campus in our local community.

  • Volunteering to help the less-fortunate helps women better appreciate their place in their communities, and to view their own circumstances in relation to a Higher Power.
  • Optional elective groups allow women to explore new aspects of prayer, meditation, and mindfulness.
  • Expressive Therapies to help women explore and express the nature of their creative spirit through art and dance.
  • Weekly worship services allow women to replenish the spirit through connection with a religious community and deepening of their relationship with a loving God.
  • Outdoor activities amidst a natural setting allow residents to witness the beauty and greatness of nature, and help our residents to experience conscious contact with a loving Higher Power.
  • 12 step mutual support groups offer potent “medicine” to revitalize our residents’ weary spirits and to foster in them a deep sense of connectedness to a greater, loving whole

Regardless of a woman’s faith or particular belief system, she will have the opportunity to take ownership of a treatment program that will help her to replenish and renew her faith and her spirit. Women seeking a Christian treatment program may find the individualized approach at Timberline Knolls particularly enriching, and feel empowered by a new experience of their faith. To learn more about how we help women renew their spirit during residential treatment, please call us.

Art Therapy

Learn About Art Therapy

Art therapy is a core group, meaning all residents participate. It is an extremely integral component of our expressive therapy program. Women and girls attend art sessions once or twice a week.

What is Art Therapy?

The American Art Therapy Association describes art therapy as “a mental health profession that uses the creative process of art making to improve and enhance the physical, mental and emotional well-being.” It is founded on the belief that self-expression has the power to help people communicate, overcome stress, and explore various aspects of their own personalities. Many cultures have used art for thousands of years as a way to express, communicate, and heal. Not unlike dance/movement therapy, this type of treatment can be traced back to the 1940s. The artist Adrian Hill discovered the benefits of drawing and painting while recovering from tuberculosis in a British sanatorium. He subsequently encouraged his fellow inpatients to embrace this therapeutic modality. This began his work in this arena, which was documented in 1945 in his book Art Versus Illness. Today, art therapy is widely practiced and highly respected by health care professionals. It is utilized in hospitals, forensic institutions, psychiatric and rehabilitation facilities, wellness centers, schools, and other clinical and community settings.

Art Therapy at Timberline Knolls

At Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center, we utilize two types of art therapy: the directed approach and the open studio process. Both offer different, yet equally valuable benefits to our residents. In the former, the art therapist encourages women and girls to complete a specific assignment. The activity is predicated on issues the participants are currently exploring, or possibly an area the therapist believes requires additional attention. The topic might be “Emotion: what do you reveal to others versus what do you keep hidden?” The residents may be instructed to create masks that display each type of emotion. The open studio process deals more in themes. A discussion may ensue surrounding the theme of shame. Participants are then encouraged to use any form of art they desire in order to display how shame manifests in their lives. Timberline Knolls employs Master’s level therapists with extensive art backgrounds. These clinicians use their knowledge of art to educate residents about various mediums and how to utilize them most effectively. The goal is not to make anyone a good artist; instead, they provide what is needed to help each resident achieve her desired end.

Why Use Art Therapy

Art is the perfect medium for non-verbal expression. Simply, it is universal. What woman or girl doesn’t remember coloring with multi-hued crayons as a child? The inherent beauty of art therapy is that it requires no skill, talent, or training. In art, there is no good or bad, no right or wrong. It is quintessentially honest. At Timberline Knolls, we believe that tapping into the creative self is synonymous with tapping into the healthy self. The more the healthy, creative self is engaged, the more it is strengthened, like a muscle. For hurting or wounded residents, the tools used in art making often replace words. Paints, fabrics, lumps of clay, pencils and more have the ability to convey what sometimes cannot be spoken: the pain of parental betrayal; the shame of sexual violation; the humiliation of spousal abuse; the indignity of trading sex for drugs. These uncomfortable thoughts and emotions are ultimately transferred into art. Unlike spoken words, which possess no longevity, art is tangible. A painting, drawing or clay sculpture becomes a concrete representation of emotion. The sorrow, guilt, shame or pain a resident has felt for years, perhaps decades, is now literally on the table. This allows for a sense of freedom from that bondage and is immensely powerful. The creation of the artwork, the transfer of emotion, is only the beginning. Our therapists, the resident, even key members of our treatment team, may work together to decide the artwork’s future. Perhaps it is kept, given to a family member, buried or released in a symbolic letting go ceremony, which are routinely held on the campus of Timberline Knolls.

Types of Disorders Treated with Art Therapy

This expressive therapy is beneficial for everyone, regardless of disorder, addiction or degree of trauma experienced throughout a lifetime.

Anorexia Nervosa

One art therapy activity that is particularly helpful for those with anorexia is body tracing. The resident lies down on a sheet of paper and the therapist outlines her body with a marker. The rendering is then displayed on a wall. Seeing the truth of what she genuinely looks like is tremendously helpful when a woman or girl struggles with body distortion. Our art therapists are also keenly aware of issues with perfectionism among anorexics. A girl may only create art using a pencil because she knows she is skilled with that medium. Our therapist may encourage her to risk being less than perfect by using another tool, one that is out of her immediate comfort zone.

Bulimia Nervosa

Bingeing and purging is a common behavior among most bulimics. In the art studio, it is not unusual to observe a resident using excessive amounts of materials, actually mimicking the purge behavior. Our therapist may redirect her behavior to use or experience one tool or product at a time. This encourages greater impulse control while adhering to defined boundaries.

Trauma/Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Art therapy is an extraordinary tool for a woman or girl who has experienced trauma or struggles with PTSD. Often, it is the first step in the healing process. Perhaps she places a single word on a piece of paper, and for a time, that is sufficient. She may progress to drawing a picture. Session after session, through the collaboration of the resident and the therapist, the art will tell the story.

Mood Disorders

Frequently, the directive to a resident with depressionanxiety or obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is: What does this disorder look like? After the depiction is created, the therapist may strive to help the resident understand that she and her disorder are not interchangeable. She is not exclusively defined by the mood disorder.

Chemical Addiction

This is similar to mood disorders in that our therapist may ask for a visual representation of the addiction. Although a young woman may sketch out the actual drug or related paraphernalia, she is more likely to display a scene of utter chaos or draw a picture of herself in chains. The eventual goal is for her to realize her identity is utterly separate from the substance.

What Are The Benefits of Art Therapy?

The benefits of art therapy for a woman or girl in treatment at Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center are enormous. The simple act of sitting quietly in the art studio, surrounded by a host of colorful textures and materials is visually rewarding. Then, the act of manually working with these items is often highly stress-reducing and relaxing. For a solid block of time, a resident does not need to think or talk – she only creates. Additionally, there is a strong correlation between the work done in the art studio and the strides made with a resident’s primary therapist. Once a woman or girl discovers the vast benefits of this therapy, she takes this knowledge with her when returning home. Knowing the value of sketching out thoughts or feelings or creating a symbolic clay figure can serve her well throughout her life.

Common Questions

Q. Do I have to have talent or training? A. No art training or talent is required. Q. Will my work be judged or graded? A. No, the art work is never graded or judged.

To learn about art therapy and treatment at Timberline Knolls, call of our licensed counselors for a free, confidential consultation.

Dance/Movement Therapy

How DMT Works

Dance/movement therapy (DMT) serves as a powerful medium for people suffering with emotional disorders to explore their relationship to their bodies. A characteristic of eating disorders, addictions and co-occurring disorders, is the tendency to detach from feelings by focusing on obsessive thoughts, concrete thinking and/or body distortions. DMT provides a way for residents with these disorders to safely connect with feelings by becoming more aware of body sensations, learning how to listen to their body’s needs, and by helping them to identify, tolerate and express uncomfortable feelings.

DMT uses movement therapeutically to improve the mental and physical well-being of a person.  Considered an expressive therapy, dance/movement therapy focuses on the connection between the mind and body to promote a holistic approach to health and healing.

DMT at Timberline Knolls

Used in a variety of settings with people of all ages who have social, emotional, cognitive and/or physical concerns, DMT is a form of psychotherapy that is helpful to the recovery process at Timberline Knolls.

Timberline Knolls’ board certified dance/movement therapist facilitates and encourages self-expressive movement by:

  • Working with both individuals and groups.
  • Helping residents express a nonverbal language that offers information about what is going on in their bodies.
  • Observing a person’s movements to make an assessment in order to collaborate in the development of the treatment plan.
  • Adapting the nature and focus of the session to meet the needs of the participants.

Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center also provides individual DMT sessions for residents who need special attention to meet the needs related to the processing of trauma, body image and/or self-expression. Individual sessions also focus on helping residents learn to manage and regulate feelings through body-mind relaxation techniques.

Yoga Therapy

What Is Yoga Therapy?

Yoga, a practice which combines stretching and other exercises with deep breathing and meditation, has existed for centuries. Only in recent decades has it made its way into mainstream America. According to a survey by Yoga Journal, today more than 15 million adults in the U.S. practice yoga.

Yoga therapy is an adaptation of a generic yoga practice to confront a specific condition. Its origins go back to the early 1900s when medical professionals in India grew interested in science and modern medicine. By the ‘20s, they had instituted a practice by which they were bringing students in, assessing their physical ailments and emotional issues, then creating specific sequences for each individual to promote healing.

Increasingly, yoga is used by behavioral health professionals throughout the country as an adjunct to talk therapy.

Yoga Therapy at Timberline Knolls

At Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center, we utilize three different yoga approaches, offered in three separate groups. These include:

Therapeutic yoga group

This is very much a theme approach; by this we mean that each group will have a specific focus. If at check-in, the majority of participants appear depressed, the selected sequence of poses will strive to reduce that depression. Throughout the experience, the facilitator will ask questions such as “When do you feel the impulse to drop your arms, instead of holding them up?” or “What kind of judgment or emotions are coming to mind for you as you endeavor to maintain this particular pose?” Criticisms, judgments of self and others, impulses, passive vs. aggressive energy are all relevant and explored during the session. In other words, therapeutic yoga, unlike other approaches, concentrates greatly on all of these mental and emotional ideas.

Vinyasa group

In yoga, vinyasa means breath-linked movement. This therapy focuses less on the mental and emotional components and more on the physical body. Therefore, it is more rigorous, intended to elevate heart rate and strengthen the body. It is more active, with poses held for a shorter period of time. This one-hour class might engage in 15 to 30 poses.

Restorative Group

This approach is designed to be very calm and relaxed. Poses are held for two or three minutes, not to increase strength, but to provide a dedicated time of meditation. Often props such as blocks or bolsters are used, thus allowing a more passive form of stretching. The idea is to teach women and girls how to relax. Most of our residents live in the sympathetic nervous system, meaning they exist in the fight or flight mode with high levels of the stress hormone cortisol running through their bodies. Restorative yoga strengthens the parasympathetic nervous system, which encourages life in a more natural, relaxed state.

We focus on the following skills and exercises in each of these classes:

Posture – This refers to the various poses offered in any given yoga class.

Breathing exercise – This refers to the alterations made in breathing such as adding counts to each breath, or adding certain qualities to the inhales and exhales.

Meditation – This is the calming of the mind by sitting quietly with eyes closed or open and focused on a certain point in the room. Essentially, this is designed to be an emptying-out process.

Mindfulness – This involves being present, in the moment. Residents often use breathing as their anchor; if their minds drift away, they gently return their thoughts to the act of breathing.

Why Use Yoga Therapy?

Yoga therapy is a profoundly important tool for women and girls with addictions, disorders and particularly those who have experienced trauma. Often, it is extremely difficult for residents to verbalize traumatic experiences. Yoga allows the body to talk. As a woman moves in and out of postures, her body is processing emotions that may have been long held inside.  These tensions impact the way she stands, the way she moves through the world. Adopting new positions and postures on a yoga mat allows the body to open up and release many of these pent-up emotions. If they are rooted in grief or sorrow, it is not unusual for a resident to weep unexpectedly as these feelings melt away.

A women-only program is the ideal environment for yoga to be learned and practiced. Assuming awkward positions could make a female feel sexually exposed or vulnerable if male participants were present. Instead, our yoga room is a safe place, free from judgment or fear.

At Timberline Knolls, we use yoga to provide an integrated approach to mental, emotional and physical health. These are skills residents take with them as they leave treatment.

Types of Disorders Treated with Yoga Therapy

Yoga therapy is an appropriate therapeutic intervention for the many disorders and addictions we treat at Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center.

Anorexia Nervosa/Bulimia Nervosa

Those with eating disorders, namely anorexia and bulimia, become highly skilled at ignoring/denying their body’s natural cues, especially regarding hunger. Yoga forces women and girls to grow more attuned to their body and begin to “listen” to these important messages. It literally changes the way they perceive their bodies. Preoccupation with food and body is often reduced, and redirected to poses and sensations. Once a resident sees how magnificently her body works, she often has no desire to continue damaging it through starvation or purging. Yoga has the power to turn abuse into appreciation.

Trauma/Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD)

If a resident struggles with PTSD or trauma, she often holds fear and tensions in her body. Yoga helps to loosen and elongate muscles while deepening the inhalations and exhalations. It essentially gives residents permission to relax in a safe environment.

Chemical Addiction

Those overcoming chemical addiction discover that yoga can truly provide a “natural high,” the feeling of euphoria they previously associated with drugs or alcohol. It also provides a sense of structure in their lives, previously missing.

Mood Disorders

Due to the variety of themes that may be selected, an individual with a mood disorder can definitely benefit from yoga. Depending on the state of mind – depressed or anxious – the poses will either tap into sources of greater energy or strive to calm and sooth.

Benefits of Yoga Therapy

Yoga is an ideal adjunct to talk therapy simply because residents do not have to speak. They don’t focus on the past or future; they don’t dwell on the addiction or disorder. The yoga room provides an oasis where they can move freely, enjoy and respect their bodies and live in the moment. In addition, it’s beneficial to the resident’s entire treatment team. The yoga specialist keeps clinical group notes on all participants. This includes moods, behaviors, what was verbalized at check-in, etc.

Yoga is a discipline that women and girls take with them when they discharge from Timberline Knolls. At any point in a day, a former resident can roll out a yoga mat and return to the oasis experience.

Common Questions

Q. I am not limber at all. Do I have to be really flexible to do yoga?

A. No. All of our groups are considered beginner level; therefore, anyone, even those who have never done yoga before, will feel comfortable.

Q. I tried this one time at a yoga studio and it was really intense. Will this yoga class be like that?

A. No. Studios can be highly competitive. Conversely, our studio is soft, gentle and calm. No one is trying to show off or out-do another person.

Q. Do I have to wear specific clothes?

A. There is no dress code. Everyone wears casual, comfortable clothes that allow them to relax and move freely.

TK saved my life, and I am forever grateful for that. I now have been months free from my eating disorder... They really make sure you know your skills before you leave!

– A former resident
Why Choose Timberline Knolls?
Marks of Quality Care
  • Better Business Bureau (BBB)
  • International Association Of Eating Disorders Professionals (IAEDP)
  • Multi-Service Eating Disorders Association
  • National Alliance for Eating Disorders
  • National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP)
  • Residential Eating Disorders Consortium
  • The Joint Commission (JCAHO) Gold Seal of Approval