- explore personal feelings
- make positive changes in mood and emotional states
- improve general wellness with nutrition and exercise
- gain a sense of control over life through successful experiences
- practice problem solving with more confidence and
- resolve conflicts leading to stronger family and peer relationships
Good mental health is about maintaining balance in our thoughts, actions and especially in our emotions. Cottages therapies foster overall good health in mind body and spirit. Take a look at our extensive list of therapies below:
Note: While we make every effort to offer each of these therapies throughout the year, in the event of any challenges with facilitator or venue availability, weather and other
factors beyond our control, we cannot guarantee that all therapies are available at all times. Clients receive notice of any scheduled therapy changes as efficiently as possible
Clinical & Psychotherapy Services
Clinical and Psychotherapy Services are offered daily in many different formats. Individual, Group, and Family therapy is provided by Licensed Therapists of Mental Health, Addiction, Domestic Violence and Behavior Modification. Medication Management is also integral to the program.
Psychotherapy is a technical term defined in the mental health field as “any form of communication between a psychotherapist and a patient which involves a relationship between them for the purpose of remedying whatever disturbance, physical or psychic the patient brings for treatment”. Various evidence-based modalities are utilized at “The Cottages” to address the multiple realms of treatment necessary for each individual participant.
Art Therapy encourages self-expression, self-discovery and emotional growth; for these reasons, it has been used in the treatment of mental illness for almost 100 years, becoming common in the United States in the 20th century. As a form of psychotherapy, art therapy often involves both the creation of art and the discovery of its meaning. Milieu therapies focus on putting the patient in a therapeutic social setting with opportunities to develop self-confidence and interact with others in a positive way.
Art Therapy at The Cottages is a multi-level therapeutic program wrapped around therapeutic expressive art sessions (on-site), Hospital Art (not-for-profit volunteer outreach) and Creekside Lavender (a Cottages “Work Program” which includes the production of candles, soaps, sachets and other lavender products).
Residents participating in the Lavender Work Program have the ability to express themselves through color and design choices in the development of lavender products.
Music expression has been a long-standing adjunct therapy at The Cottages. Music therapy is the use of music by professionals to promote healing and enhance quality of life for their residents. Music therapy may be used to encourage emotional expression, promote social interaction, relieve symptoms and for other purposes.
Music is…motivating! Music enters the limbic system – our “feeling center” – before it enters the cognitive areas of the brain. This allows music to grab our emotions first, therefore increasing motivation.
Music is…rhythmical! Rhythm is one of the fundamental components of music, humans, and the world. Rhythm is a natural fit for human responses, including movement, singing and instrument play.
Music is…organizing! Music exists in time, therefore it is temporal. To attend to a song, one must be involved in the here and now.
Music is…nonverbal! Music can be understood by those who have limited understanding of language. It can be a common communication forum for someone who has difficulty expressing themselves.
Through this therapy, residents sing, play instruments and listen to music, often becoming part of a jamming ensemble. Music Therapy is headed up by Elizabeth Hampshire, MT-BC.
Culinary Art Therapy
Culinary Art Therapy uses cooking as a means of communication and expression. It allows participants to experience some relief of their symptoms with a better connection to others through the cooking process. Many clients open up and relax as they engage in something creative, fun and inspiring, with the freedom to feel more vulnerable.
The Cottages has a unique approach to Culinary Art: We educate and facilitate hands-on participation in both nutritional well-being and cooking with weekly classes:
- discover the benefits of healthy eating in tandem with a fitness program
- learn what to eat for nourishment and fuel
- learn how to maintain nutritional balance for peace of mind (necessary nutrients for mental, physical and emotional health)
- develop improved self-esteem
- enhance brain development
- connect with others on a deeper interpersonal level
Once a week, residents in our cooking class and/or Bake Club learn how to shop, prepare, serve and clean up. Our volunteer program also allows Culinary Art participants to culinary contribution at the Atlanta Food Bank.
Animal-assisted therapy has shown evidenced-based efficacy in patients with depression, anxiety attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, conduct disorders, dissociative disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, autism and other chronic mental illnesses.
Experts suggest that Equine Therapy, a common form of animal-assisted therapy, may yield a variety of psychotherapeutic benefits. Specialized Equestrians of Georgia provides equine therapy for our residents.
Equine Therapy is held at Chastain Park where residents learn how to care for horses (weather permitting, some weight restrictions apply).
Horticulture Therapy is the art and science of growing plants, plus engaging plant or gardening activities to improve body, mind and spirit. Research confirms that healthful benefits accrue when people view, plant, grow and care for plants.
The Cottages’ residents assist with planting and cultivating organic vegetables in two organic gardens.
Coming soon – The Cottages “Greenhouse” where residents can plant herbs, harvest, dry and pack herbs for sale at local Farmer’s Markets.
Exercise improves mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and negative mood and by improving self-esteem and cognitive function. Exercise has also been found to alleviate symptoms such as low self-esteem and social withdrawal. Exercise is especially important in patients with schizophrenia since these patients are already vulnerable to obesity and also because of the additional risk of weight gain associated with antipsychotic treatment, especially with the atypical antipsychotics. Thirty minutes of exercise of moderate intensity, such as brisk walking for 3 days a week, is sufficient for these health benefits. Moreover, these 30 minutes need not to be continuous; three 10-minute walks are believed to be as equally useful as one 30-minute walk. Exercising for Mental Health: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry. 2006; 8(2): 106.
Low impact fitness classes are provided Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings, while we run a spin class (stationary spin bike) every Saturday. Fitness walks are provided during the week in the late afternoon including walks in the park and walks while taking photos for photography class. Fitness classes are held by certified fitness trainers and spin instructors and our on-site fitness zone includes weight training equipment.
Guided Relaxation works in tandem with psychotherapy allowing for the exploration of painful thoughts, feelings and memories that may have been hidden from the conscious mind. It also enables the mind to perceive things differently, such as blocking an awareness of pain.
Guided Relaxation is integrated into The Cottages Mindfulness Program and is led by therapists.