To complement our traditional treatment methods, our residents have access to a wide variety of nontraditional therapies. Together, these therapeutic activities for mental health help you access an additional layer of insight and healing.

Exploratory Therapy

Exploratory therapy helps you get in touch with your unconscious thoughts, feelings, and actions. Our exploratory therapy providers encourage you to consider your patterns, motivations, defenses, and conflicts to determine how your mindset affects your mental health. Our exploratory therapy has two tracks:

Restoring the Self

Many times, the symptoms or behaviors that bring a person to The Retreat have roots in deeper problems, such as poor self-esteem or self-image. We treat your symptoms as we help you restore your sense of self.

Many residents who participate in this track experience mood disorders such as treatment-resistant depression, anxiety, or co-occurring disorders. Through exploratory therapy, you can gain the skills necessary to manage the disease.

“Restoring the Self” is about strengthening the way you feel about yourself. During therapy, we:

  • Tackle internal struggles, such as shame, loss, grief, loneliness, and rage

  • Explore positive approaches to thinking and feeling such as empathy, compassion, forgiveness, and hope, encouraging you to incorporate these approaches into everyday life

  • Help you find a healthier sense of self as you pursue recovery and build resilience

Psychodynamic Group Therapy

A form of in-depth talk therapy, psychodynamic group therapy gives you an opportunity to discuss your anxieties, depressive concerns, and fears, expanding on the work you are doing in other therapy sessions.

You can say whatever is on your mind, or you can listen to others. It is a group to share feelings, give feedback, and help one another with shared issues.  

Art Therapy

Sometimes it’s difficult to put your experiences and emotions into words. Art therapy can help you discover and express thoughts and feelings.

In our art therapy groups, you create art and then take time to reflect on your work, bringing to light the behaviors and emotions that you and other group members have experienced. Art therapy also gives you the skills you need to prevent impulsive behaviors and reclaim authentic thoughts and feelings, helping enhance your treatment process at The Retreat.

Activity Therapy

Activity therapy is a therapeutic approach that allows you to engage in actions, movements, and activities to face problems and concerns. Engaging in therapeutic activities for mental health can help improve your quality of life. Our activity therapies include:

Rock Climbing

Rock climbing is more than recreation. The experience of climbing can be a powerful tool for self-discovery and self-observation. Often, it helps residents explore healthy risk-taking and overcome self-imposed limitations.

Many residents use rock climbing as a metaphor for the mental health issues addressed in other parts of the program. We embrace the concept of challenge by choice, allowing you to choose your level of difficulty during climbing sessions. These sessions take place at Earth Treks Climbing Center, a state-of-the-art indoor climbing gym in Timonium, Maryland.


Meditation, or mindfulness, is the act of achieving mental clarity by focusing the mind on a particular thought or object. Mindfulness is observing our thoughts in the present moment without the urge to react impulsively or stop them.

This practice can help you increase calmness, manage stress, cope with mental health concerns, and improve your mindset.

Our meditation group provides a place to engage in Eastern movement practices, mindfulness meditation, and guided imagery. Residents who experience addictive behaviors or severe stress can benefit from practicing meditation and learning new techniques for addressing stress and anxiety.

Therapeutic Outings

Each Saturday, our recreational therapist plans a therapeutic outing to help you explore issues related to communication, trust, social interaction, and personal accomplishment.

We present our therapeutic outing schedule every Thursday, giving you time to plan accordingly. Monthly therapeutic outings include:

  • Rock climbing
  • Equine-assisted therapy
  • Seasonal outings, such as chartering a sailboat
  • Hiking
  • Trips to local museums and gardens

Cardio-Strength Exercise

When you are experiencing mental illness, it’s difficult to exercise regularly. At The Retreat, we help you establish healthy habits that can improve your physical and mental health. When used with other treatment methods, exercise can improve symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Our residents can participate in:

  • Aerobic conditioning

  • Strength training

  • Flexibility

  • Core exercises

  • Cardio-strength groups, including morning walks

  • Yoga

We also offer a health and wellness group for other opportunities to exercise. Residents may hike on the Northern Central Railroad trail near The Retreat campus.


With regular practice, yoga is effective in managing anxiety, stress, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) symptoms. At The Retreat, our yoga sessions focus on breathing techniques and restorative poses to increase flexibility, decrease tension, and counteract the body’s natural fight-or-flight response.

Yoga increases body awareness and works to disrupt negative thought patterns. In addition to group classes, you can schedule individual sessions to address your needs. These one-on-one meetings help you discover the yoga style that best suits your goals when transitioning home.

Movement Therapy

Movement therapy helps you make a connection between specific movements, such as dancing or meditation, and your emotional health. In movement therapy, you use structured exercises to support the body’s intellectual, emotional, and motor functions.

Individual movement therapy sessions usually occur once a week. The sessions address your specific issues in an intimate setting outside of group therapy. Through this type of therapy, you may discover new emotions or greater self-acceptance.  

Recreational Therapy

Recreational therapy restores your ability to function independently by connecting you to meaningful therapeutic activities. It also helps you gain insight into your treatment.

Fun, relaxing activities are necessary for balance in life, and they can help:

  • Establish a sense of identity

  • Improve self-esteem

  • Provide a sense of relaxation

  • Provide a place for social interaction

  • Improve mood and stress levels

  • Promote health and wellness

We provide weekly individual therapy sessions with a recreational therapist to help you gain the skills needed to fill your free time with healthy, meaningful activities.

Movement and Meditation Therapy

During initial movement and meditation therapy sessions, you’ll experience:

  • Energy assessment: An energy assessment identifies patterns of physical tension and how they affect you emotionally. These patterns prevent you from making decisions and living your life with direction and purpose.

  • Cognitive focusing meditation: This type of meditation helps identify thought processes that contribute to dysfunctional patterns that may prevent you from achieving lasting recovery.

The remaining sessions focus on creating a plan, so you can use what you learn to help you move forward with your life.

Take the Next Step

If you suffer from a mental health condition and don't know where else to turn, The Retreat by Sheppard Pratt may be able to help. Contact us