Holistic and Experiential Therapies

Wells House is excited about the potential benefits of holistic and experiential therapies to our patients, who are new in recovery and awaken every morning to face the struggle of whether to drink, use a drug, or stay committed to their recovery. The more tools we can offer them to strengthen their recovery, the better their chances of not only surviving the devastation of their substance use disorder, but going on to live healthy lives as productive members of their families and the communities in which they live.


There is a growing recognition of yoga and meditation as effective forms of adjunctive therapy for recovery from substance use disorders and relapse prevention. Increasingly, trauma informed yoga has been proven to help individuals heal spiritually and emotionally. A new Georgetown Law report states that because the effects of trauma can be physical as well as emotional, “mind/body” interventions such as yoga are uniquely able to address special populations, such as people in recovery. The specific yoga components of regulated breathing, and learning to stay in the moment, are valuable relaxation and recovery tools. Wells House seeks to provide as many treatment opportunities as possible to our patient population.

Yoga Instructor Shelley Pentony explains “trauma lives in the body and has no voice. Breathing and the specific trauma informed yoga poses help release the trauma the body is storing. Trauma informed yoga poses are designed to help calm the body and release stored up stress. This type of yoga uses gentle verbal cues, respectful of the individual’s need for personal safe space. Trauma informed yoga can empower individuals in recovery and teach them healthy ways to self soothe.” Shelley’s trauma informed yoga sessions for our patients are held here on site. One-hour sessions are held on Friday mornings; for up to 12 people per session.

Thank you to our partners at Sol Yoga for assisting us in making this recovery tool available to our patients.



Process Painting is painting experienced in silence, using only tempera paint and paper, during which the painter explores the Creative Process rather than directing one’s attention on how the painting will look when completed. The intent is for the painter to become aware of their True Self as they experience how to quiet the mind that wants to both assign meaning and control the outcome. This unique painting process can be transformative —creativity flows and the unbridled joy of free expression is experienced.









Process Painting can be particularly helpful for individuals in recovery from substance use disorders, giving them the opportunity to quiet the mind’s constant chatter and be guided by creative instincts, absent of preconceptions. Women of Wells House @Gale Recovery reported feeling calmer, less stressed, more receptive to people and circumstances, and experiencing a renewed, positive focus on their recovery.

The Process Painting classes are facilitated by Rebecca Laughlin M.F.A.

Rebecca earned a B.A. in Art Education and a M.F.A. in Painting from American University in Washington, DC. Rebecca completed Master Intensive Training in Process Painting with Michele Cassou, co-founder of the Painting Experience in San Francisco, California. Ms. Laughlin has been facilitating Process Painting workshops for the past several years in area art centers and at her New Moon Studio in New Market, Maryland.


We will be offering a six-week Music Therapy session to our male patients in Frederick. The sessions will be provided by therapists at Noteable Progressions Music Therapy Sessions, led by founder and director Darcy L. O’Daniel (shown here pulling some musical instruments together for a session). Several studies have identified a positive relationship between music therapy and healthy self soothing and a reduction in anxiety, depression and stress among persons in recovery from substance use disorders. Sessions will be held starting in the Spring and extend into early Summer. We thank the Delaplaine for supporting our holistic approach to recovery.

Thoughts from our patients about Trauma Yoga and Process Painting  sessions at Frederick location, March 2018

“I really liked it, especially the meditative process. You come out of it feeling completely different than you went in. You can be all stressed out with a lot on your mind, and by the end of the session, you feel peaceful. Yoga was always something I planned on trying. I didn’t ever have the money to do it. I’m really impressed that I have been able to do it here. I hope you can continue to offer it. It’s a good spiritual, mindful exercise.”
– Connor

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“The Yoga was the most relaxing and inspirational time I have had while I’ve been here. It taught me so much. The instructor showed me where to find guided meditations on my phone and I fall asleep to them every night now. Did the yoga support my recovery? Absolutely 100 percent! The meditating and breathing exercises I learned in the sessions have really helped me learn how to get tuned into my body and helped reduce my stress levels, and the pain that has resulted from my back surgeries. I didn’t think yoga could help with back pain and it has alleviated it so much; that’s how I got addicted to pain meds in the first place! The yoga and the breathing are incredible. I still have my days, but it has really helped me learn how to calm myself and just breathe through stressful times.”
– Charlene

“I really liked the Yoga. I used it for overall relaxation and stretching. I drive my bike all over Frederick and the Yoga really helped my body from getting too stiffened up. It was one of the better hours I’ve spent here. I would go in and relax, stretch, and release any stress for an hour. You could also tell that the instructor really cared and was very conscientious that she was doing movements that we could follow too.”
– Pete

“For me the process painting class has been great. It’s unbelievably relaxing. I like that each painting is totally different. It’s nice to be able to tap into a different side of me that before I started was totally unexplored. This painting, in particular represents a variety of different emotions. Using the process painting technique allows me to express my emotions in a different and healthy way.”
– JH