Yoga, arts helping children open up about addiction, emotions – WBAY

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) – Options are expanding for kids and teens seeking treatment for drug and alcohol addiction in Northeast Wisconsin.

Board certified music therapist Rachel Lofton plays the piano as part of music therapy sessions for youth in treatment at Libertas Green Bay.

The state recently approved a long-term residential program for youth at Libertas Green Bay.

The new renovations and therapies are helping kids overcome addiction.

From the piano music, to the singing and messages in lyrics, to the low tones from the vibrations of a gong, you can hear therapy at work inside Libertas Treatment Center.

“It changes brain waves from beta down to alpha and theta, and theta are the brain waves deep meditators get into, so it can drop people into relaxation in a very short period of time,” says Chris Zimonick, yoga and sound massage therapist, who shows us how the gong is used in therapy sessions.

Programs for youth ages 11 to 18 in treatment for drug and alcohol addiction or severe behavioral problems now include art, pet and music therapies, plus yoga.

Libertas director Elaine Doxtator says research has proven they are successful in reaching and helping children.

“It’s really trying to focus on what’s going on and how can we help you get through situations,” she says.

To help the kids learn how to cope after they go home, the focus lies on finding the doorway to emotions and feelings kids may not otherwise want to share.

“I think music kind of can step in where words don’t necessarily come out,” says Rachel Lofton, board certified music therapist. “Music can kind of step in for that in a lot of places, which is wonderful.”

In the last month, the state granted Libertas “residential” status, allowing it to house youth and continue programs and treatment for several months instead of a few weeks.

“We’re very excited about that, because the longer we can keep them, the more success, I think, that they’re we’re going to have,” says Doxtator.

The approximately 100 kids that seek help there each year can also now spend time inside the new sensory room, funded through a grant, or outdoors at a labyrinth built by Leadership Green Bay 2017.

They’re unlocking potential, helping kids to choose the right path and succeed after treatment ends.

“Sometimes it’s really bringing out what’s bothering them. What are some things we can really truly work on that you can take home with you and work on with your family, friends and really try and help you process different things regarding your addiction,” adds Doxtator.