Experiential Therapy

Experiential therapy is a term that encompasses a number of therapeutic techniques that require engaging in some type of activity or action.  Everything from equine assisted psychotherapy to art therapy to psychodrama is considered experiential therapy. Despite the different approaches, most experiential therapy techniques will use tools and activities to recreate situations from past and current relationships, in an effort to identify the emotions that arise. With the guidance of a professional experiential therapist, the client can explore these feelings and begin to release these feelings. Individuals who have been through trauma, are dealing with an eating or behavioral disorder, working through anger or grief issues, as well as various addictions can benefit from experiential therapy. Think this approach might be right for you? Reach out to one of TherapyDen’s experiential therapy experts today.

Meet the specialists

My style is "here-and-now", using the therapeutic relationship to give you a transformative experience of feeling seen and understood for who you really are. This is the foundation of change that has a ripple effect into the rest of your life, transforming your relationships.

— Carolyn Moore, Counselor in San Francisco, CA

Experiential therapy is just a fancy term for being active while doing therapy. This can be beneficial for those who have trouble just sitting on the couch and talking to a therapist.

— Stacy Stegeman, Therapist in Columbia, MO

I am a Certified Experiential Therapist, and I incorporate experiential and psychodramatic techniques into my work with clients.

— Leela Ehrhart, Counselor in Media, PA

As an artist, I often view therapy through the eye of a creative and believe in flexible, spontaneous, emotionally expressive modalities and techniques which promote these qualities. I was taught this modality in graduate school and found it to be comfortable and natural to me. I often use dramatic or art based experiential techniques with clients who have difficulty verbalizing long suppressed emotions.

— Lucinda Wurtz, Counselor in Spokane, WA

In Experiential Therapy, the client connects to their feelings, thoughts, and behaviors through short enactments. These enactments include guided imagery, empty chair work, psychodrama work, somatic therapy, and mindfulness practices. I believe in the power of the body and your inner world as a tool for connecting to your strengths and resources to transcend your pain.

— Kaile Videtich, Registered Marriage and Family Therapist Intern in San Jose, CA

Facilitates group activities that are experiential.

— Forest Benedict, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Diego, CA

Experiential therapy is one of the most powerful modalities in family therapy because it is based on the present moment and living the current experience. I received training during my master's program and was provided hands-on learning with this therapy. While it is mainly a family therapy modality, I have found it beneficial in all types of therapy to include individual, couples and group.

— Hiliary Beatty, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Spokane, WA

Psychotherapy is one human being connecting with another in a caring, empathic, supportive relationship. As persons we grow when these conditions are present, and I strive to provide them. I like the term 'experiential' because this kind of therapy takes you into your heart and your experience. Change and growth happen when we can process our experiences, feel heard, and learn to trust ourselves more.

— Brent Sweitzer, Counselor in Cumming, GA

This technique activates a different part of our brain, and is specialized for those with a creative edge or who better express themselves with paper and pen.

— Emily Loeber, Counselor in Simpsonville, SC

Experiential therapists believe we need new experiences to heal from past experiences, especially when those past experiences have gotten stuck and unprocessed. Experiential therapy refers to treatment approaches that are more interactive, such as sand tray, art, music re-enactments, and others.

— Morgan Ticum, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Lenexa, KS

At RISE we utilize a variety of experiential techniques in all of our OP services. Movement, music, creative and self expression, Psychodrama, nature therapy, Somatic Exercises, and art therapy are only a few of the experiential services we offer. Because we believe in the power of the human experience in learning and healing, we find these therapeutic techniques essential for personal growth and healing.

— Bet Shaddinger, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Fort Lauderdale, FL

Providing you with a corrective emotional experience is my primary goal in therapy. Regardless of the trauma, abuse or neglect you have experienced in your childhood or past, I believe you can heal and learn to give and receive more love and positive regard for yourself and others.

— Laura Ostrow, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Alameda, CA

I offer a warm and direct approach to connect with my clients in the here and now, accepting their experiences as valid and true.

— Tristan Martin, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Manlius, NY

Virgina Satir was a boss. She emphasized how clients needed to identify and process their emotions by verbalizing them in the moment. With Experiential interventions, we will work on developing your ability to name your emotions and the thoughts underlying them. We will do writing interventions and "replays" where we review triggering incidents from your past to help you bring a connection between what you are feeling, saying, and doing.

— Marissa Esquibel, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Claremont, CA

This non-touch approach gives my clients the opportunity to step outside the box of traditional talk therapy and to move trauma outside of their energetic system through various exercises.

— Michelle Iankowitz, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Newport Beach, CA

I utilize an approach that centers the clients' experience in the here and now, accepting their journey and emotions as truth, which is derived from their experiences in the world.

— Tristan Martin, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Manlius, NY

I attempt to help clients connect with their emotions and learn to verbalize them in the here and now as we work through processing identified reasons for seeking treatment.

— Melanie Gonzalez, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Irvine, CA

I understand that connection and aliveness is something we experience in the body. In my sessions, we don't just talk about problems; we learn how to have different emotional, cognitive, and physiologic experiences. Therapy provides a safe space to experiment with new ways of being, both individually and with partners.

— Hayden Lindsey, Counselor in Austin, TX

Trauma and emotion focused trained therapist in the line of thought offered by Dr. Diane Poole Heller, Dr. Bessel Van der Kolk, Dr. Daniel Siegel, Dr. Peter Levine, Dr. Joan Borysenko and more. I am a clinical hypnotherapist versed in Ericksonian hypnosis, CBT hypnosis (Yapko), chronic pain hypnosis (as researched by Jensen and Patterson) and evidenced based IBS hypnosis (Palsson). I studied under a number of hypnotherapy trainers; most notably, Dr. Michael Yapko.

— Lori Olson, Counselor in Tallahassee, FL

Whether talking about what happened yesterday or in your family growing up, we will work with what you experience in the moment as you explore. That way the work is fresh, not a stale re-hashing of an old, stuck story. Using basic building blocks of gentle curiosity, compassion and honoring both what shows up as well as resistance to what shows up, deep transformation happens.

— Grace Silvia, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Portland, OR

Therapy focused on the here and now. We will focus beyond your verbal experience, what your body is communicating to you and others through body language and somatic feeling (meaning what sensations and information the five senses are giving you about your experience). Sometimes this includes therapy interventions that are not as verbally-based, creating an experience or a roundabout way to getting to deeper feeling and emotions below the surface of what is discussed in conversation.

— George Goldston, Counselor in Beaverton, OR

Change, emotional growth, and personal empowerment are all among the benefits of participating in an effective experiential therapy program. Because experiential therapy patients are often focused on the task or activity at hand — rather than on the therapeutic aspect of the experience — they are more likely to behave in a more unguarded and genuine manner.

— Kira Hayes, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Newark, OH

My clinical work to date has involved the use of Experiential Therapy which focuses on acceptance, emotional expression, self-esteem, and the varying ways families can get caught up in cycles of dysfunction. You will be fully accepted where you are, right now, today.

— Cindy Purifoy, Marriage & Family Therapist in Overland Park, KS

Once we understand how the trauma is affecting you today we can do a deeper piece of work. Experiential therapy creates an internal shift and is more effective than just talk therapy alone. It breaks through unconscious resistances and gets to the root of the underlying traumas. By depicting your inner world visually through inner child work, Gestalt empty chair techniques, psychodrama techniques etc, you will experience new insights, release emotions, and new healthy beliefs about self emerge.

— Leanne Lemire, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Carefree, AZ

Wherever you go, there you are. Whatever comes up for you outside of a counseling session is likely to show up in our counseling relationship as well. It's all grist for the mill! I am committed to holding a safe space to create healing or reparative relational experiences as they naturally arise. I also believe that the therapy office is a wonderful space to practice new behaviors or styles of interaction whether in relationship with your therapist or in a couples or family session. We can explore your experiences in the moment to heighten awareness of what is happening outside of session!

— Whitney Sutherland, Counselor in Cedar Park, TX