Alternative inpatient therapy in Virginia

HCA Virginia includes some of the few facilities in the U.S. to offer holistic treatment options to adults, adolescents and children impacted by trauma and mental health disorders. With this approach, we lead the Virginia region in providing access to creative solutions to health and wellness problems. Patients find this useful because alternative therapies can reduce heart rates, decrease stress and anxiety, encourage participation in treatment and improve overall outlook.

For more information about our primary care services or for help finding a doctor, call our free, 24/7 Consult-A-Nurse line.

Alternative therapy

As members of our multispecialty treatment teams, our expert expressive therapists collaborate in developing treatment plans. They work closely with physicians, social workers, psychiatric nurses, psychiatric technicians, educators, dietitians and other clinical staff. Together, they identify and deliver the most appropriate care in the least restrictive environment possible.

Expressive arts therapy

Alternative therapy is often known as expressive arts therapy. It taps into our innate senses and offers nonverbal outlets to help redirect intense feelings in more productive ways. With these new skills, you can feel less alone in the world, less inclined toward anger, depression or self-harming behavior and more capable of expressing feelings that may be hard to share with others.

Benefits of alternative therapy

As mental health care incorporates a greater sensitivity to the long-term effects of trauma, complementary therapies provide powerful support to patients. These therapies help patients learn to calm themselves, build skills, realize they can start and finish an activity and begin the steps to mastery.

Other benefits of expressive arts therapy include:

  • Adults may explore new, more productive and positive ways to spend their leisure time that can help alleviate depression or anxiety.
  • Adolescents may have better ways to express the feelings they are struggling with and to tell their stories.
  • Children may find avenues to productively channel and regulate their energy, voice their feelings and connect to themselves and others.
  • Most alternative therapies incorporate a verbal component in each session. This helps patients reflect on what they were able to express and experience and identify how this applies to their specific situation.
  • We provide feedback to appropriate treatment team members if expressive arts therapies uncover troubling or safety issues, so individuals are able to receive the attention they need.

Learn more about expressive therapy

Types of alternative therapy

Expressive arts therapy is available through our behavioral health programs. These programs are designed to help patients of all ages get through a crisis and acquire new tools for coping while getting back to their lives.

Some of the alternative therapies we provide include:

Art therapy

Art therapy, facilitated by a professional art therapist, effectively supports personal and relational treatment goals as well as community concerns. Art therapy is used to improve cognitive and sensorimotor functions as well as foster self-esteem and self-awareness. It cultivates emotional resilience and enhances social skills, including reducing and resolving conflicts and distress among advanced societal and ecological changes.

Dance/movement therapy

The American Dance Therapy Association (ADTA) defines dance/movement therapy as the psychotherapeutic use of movement to promote emotional, social, cognitive and physical integration of the individual. Dance/movement therapy takes a unique approach to healing. It is based on the empirically supported assertion that mind, body and spirit are inseparable and interconnected, therefore, changes in the body reflect changes in the mind and vice versa.

Music therapy

Music therapy is an established health profession in which music is used therapeutically to address physical, emotional, cognitive and social needs of individuals. After assessing the strengths and needs of each client, the music therapist provides treatment that includes creating, singing, moving to and listening to music.

Local music therapy program

HCA Virginia's Johnston-Willis Hospital partners with Musicians on Call to bring music therapy to patients. It includes preloaded playlists that are curated to include music that promotes positivity. These playlists are designed to help soothe, relax and inspire patients through each day of treatment.

Pet therapy

Sometimes the best "medicine" is the comfort of a furry friend. Our pet therapy program offers well-trained therapy dogs who provide this comfort and affection as patients recover. The dogs may simply sit or lie quietly for hours on the bed next to the patient while being petted.

At our participating hospitals, therapy dogs are only a phone call away. If you would like one of our four-legged friends to spend time with you, all you have to do is ask your nurse to make the arrangements.

Recreational therapy

According to the American Therapeutic Recreation Association, recreational therapy is a systematic process that utilizes recreation and other activities as a therapeutic intervention. It addresses the needs of individuals with illnesses or disabling conditions, helping to re-establish psychological and physical health, recovery and well-being.

Therapeutic yoga

Therapeutic yoga is defined as the application of yoga postures to aid in the treatment of health conditions. It involves yoga instruction to prevent, reduce or alleviate structural, physiological, emotional and spiritual pain, as well as suffering or limitations.