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Substance Addiction Treatment and the Eight Intelligences

July 14, 2022

Intellectual functioning and IQ tests compare people’s performance with others in their age group who take the same test. However, IQ tests don’t allow for diverse types of intelligence. Without understanding how a person processes their interactions with others, discovering forms of substance addiction is nearly impossible.

Everyone brings something different to their relationships with others. Social intelligence, for example, can affect interpersonal relationships. Likewise, working with a person’s strength and intelligence can help a person with a substance use disorder (SUD) find a path to recovery.

Recognize Intelligence

Pigeon-holing people into one group fails to recognize their abilities. Nobody is perfect at one single thing; some excel in the arts, athletics, or the sciences. For example, some musicians play multiple instruments. A few more examples are:

  • Trent Reznor
  • Flea
  • Prince
  • Billie Joe Armstrong
  • Dave Grohl
  • PJ Harvey
  • Beck

Artists like these understand their abilities and use them to their advantage. However, not everyone knows or completely understands all their abilities. For this reason, they may find themselves bored, frustrated, or missing something in their life. Sometimes, instead of finding creative or healthy outlets, they turn to alcohol or drugs. An essential part of your client’s substance addiction treatment is helping them discover their type of intelligence. Once they know their form and level of intelligence, they can master their abilities.

Types of Intelligence

Before you decide on a type of therapy with your client, spend some time discovering how they think and learn. Howard Gardner wrote that there are eight types of human intelligence. When your client tests to see what kind of intelligence they have, you should explain that a high score in one form doesn’t preclude a high score in another type of intelligence.

The eight kinds of intelligence are:

Spatial Intelligence

A person who can think in the abstract and multiple dimensions has an advantage in conceptualization and spatial reasoning. Therapy that builds on spatial thinkers’ ease grasps the whole picture and understanding the details. Spatial learners may struggle with setting goals and can benefit from discussing where they see themselves compared to breaking a plan into steps. When you’re teaching your client about the effects of alcohol or drugs on their mind and body, use pictures or written descriptions.

Bodily-kinesthetic Intelligence

Clients with bodily-kinesthetic intelligence are skilled in athletic and physical activities. Suppose your client shows a strong tendency to this type of intelligence. They may also learn to replace harmful habits with holistic therapies like yoga or surfing. Combining physical activity and healthy habits takes feelings like depression or anxiety away from destructive behaviors. Instead, your client will retrain their thoughts and behaviors towards finding inner peace or healthy solutions to problems.

Musical Intelligence

Some people feel the music in their bones. Whether it’s the pitch, tone, rhythm, or melody, they can identify with songs or compositions. Your client may feel a deep connection to a singer or songwriter because of how that person expresses themself in song. Music therapy is a positive outlet for their feelings and can help them connect with their recovery deeper.

Linguistic Intelligence

Those sensitive to the meaning of words, the order, sound, inflection, or rhythm of words can relate to therapies that emphasize the impact of words. Holistic therapies like journaling can guide a person to expressing themselves. Maybe your client isn’t comfortable journaling; see if they prefer to talk about what they think, feel, or envision. Talk therapy is a healthy way to express emotions while letting others know how to help.

Logical-mathematical Intelligence

People who are logical or skilled mathematicians can analyze a situation and come to a logical conclusion. They excel at quantitative or qualitative research. If your client ranks high on the logical-mathematical intelligence scale, give them tasks that include researching and analyzing their addiction, behavior patterns, and how to build healthy coping skills. A SUD is an abstract issue that, with analysis, can be understood. With a better understanding of how addiction affects them, your client can lay out the steps to help them achieve sobriety.

Interpersonal Intelligence

Not everyone can effectively interact with others. For example, a person with social anxiety, ADHD, or depression may find being around or talking with people a struggle. Maybe your client used alcohol or drugs to aid them in social situations. Several types of therapy, including interpersonal psychotherapy, can help them identify and cope with their mental health disorders.

Intrapersonal Intelligence

Intrapersonal intelligence is interesting concerning addiction. A person with intrapersonal intelligence is sensitive to their emotions, mental health, or goals. People with a SUD may lack the ability to connect with their mind and body. Therefore, individual and group therapy combined with holistic treatments can build a solid foundation for recovery.

Naturalistic Intelligence

Clients with naturalistic intelligence have a heightened understanding of the nuances that occur in nature. As a result, they may find comfort when engaging in outdoor activities like forest bathing, surfing, or sunbathing. Ecotherapy looks at the relationship people have with nature.

The eight types of intelligence provide strength in guiding a person to recovery. As a therapist, your ability to recognize a client’s specific type of intelligence aids you in finding treatment that addresses their individual needs. While some benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy, biofeedback, or dialectical behavior therapy, others do not. Instead, people with musical, linguistic, or bodily-kinesthetic intelligence can thrive when introduced to the various forms of holistic treatment. Clients who receive therapy that emphasizes their abilities can thrive and grow. Alta Centers has experience guiding people with any of the eight types of intelligence through detoxification. Our location, nestled in the Hollywood Hills, helps clients find the most effective therapies for their needs regardless of their forms of intelligence. Alta Centers provides a medically supervised detox program that begins a client’s path to discovery. We provide the care needed, helping clients learn to live a life without substances. Call (888) 202-2583 for more information.