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.

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Experiential therapy is about feeling the room and giving each client an experience that suits them best. It's basically "meeting each client where they're at", including mood, disposition and pace.

— Courtney Latham, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Wayzata, MN

Adventure Therapy, Experiential Therapy, Wilderness Therapy, Nature-Based Therapy… all of these names describe an approach of inviting clients to engage in an experience so that they can learn about themselves. Together we’ll decide what activity would be most helpful to you each session. We’ll engage in that activity together in a mindful, trauma-informed way and have deep, reflective conversion, weaving together relevant threads from Evidence Based Practices.

— Kallie England, Clinical Social Worker in Ann Arbor, MI
 

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 Tanis, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Carefree, AZ

Experiential Therapy is experience based processes. It utilizes techniques such as role-playing, music, guided imagery and re-experiences of emotional situations or relationships. Through the processes clients begin to identify the emotions associated with their experiences. I empower clients with these processes to let go of negative feelings, shame, anger and hurt while recreating positive thinking patterns. Experiential Therapy is used to treat trauma, behaviors and debilitating emotions.

— Cindy Hyde, Licensed Professional Counselor in Dallas, TX
 

Experiential therapy I use primarily with adolescents since their emotions are important and to understand that emotions are important. I allow my clients to speak from emotion since they have a lot to say and there is no judgment.

— Amisha Gandhi, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Kirkland, WA

When appropriate, I use experiential exercises into sessions. Examples are roles plays, visualizations, guided imagery. These are used to assist a person in going deeper into an experience and to bring it more to life to enable them to work through it rather than talk about it and around it, which generally does NOT lead to healing. In relationships, it deepens connection with oneself and with others.

— Laura Carr, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Diego, CA
 

Talk therapy alone is ineffective without experiencing your growth through applying skills to gain consciousness, awareness, and insight, along with skills and processes to work with the conditions of our lives that challenge us. One must "experience their life" to make actual change.

— Roderic Burks, Licensed Professional Counselor in Denver, CO

Since artmaking is inherently experiential, my graduate training incorporated an understanding of how experiential therapy works to create shifts in people at physical, emotional, and intellectual levels. Experiential therapy involves the use of in-session experiences to initiate positive and integrative changes in the mental images that become a client’s thoughts, feelings, words, and actions. The experiences that are introduced are specific to the client’s unique nervous system patterns.

— Megan VanMeter, Art Therapist
 

I am currently in an intensive Core Training on Intensive Short Term Dynamic Psychotherapy.

— Alison Schweichler, Counselor in Orchard Park, NY

For some people, sitting for an hour and processing their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, can be too difficult. Experiential therapy with me will utilize a person centered approach, in which we explore activities (including art, movement based, relational) that can help you feel regulated/safe. Once you can feel safe in the space we've created, we can move towards establishing and working on our therapeutic relationship. From there, we will organically get to more cognitive conversations.

— Edwardo Rodriguez, Licensed Master of Social Work in Austin, TX
 

Experiential therapy is an approach to psychotherapy that includes recreational activities, various expressive modalities, and other physical and emotional activities. Through hands-on activities or role-play, children, teens, and adults can learn to identify and focus on their feelings. The goal is to improve overall well-being and functioning and overcome negative emotions.

— Jon Soileau, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in Kansas City, MO

A variety of experiential therapy techniques are used in one-on-one therapy as well as group therapy. Experiential techniques utilized include the use of reflective tools such as the Tarot, psychodrama and role-playing techniques, family constellations, music, meditation, and guided imagery, and expressive arts when deemed appropriate. Experiential therapies can be worked on in session or assigned as homework.

— Kyra Paules, Clinical Social Worker in Boiling Springs, PA
 

Talk therapy is the primary method of my counseling work. However, I maintain that there are "multiple ways to the same goal". We might talk about the content to see if that gets us there. We might also write about it, draw about it, walk about it (internet and tele-space willing*), close our eyes and meditate on it.

— Joey Salvatore, Counselor in Bethesda, MD

Hakomi and Somatic Experiencing are types of experiential therapies, which means working in the present moment experience of what is happening in your body. Sometimes it's helpful for my clients to take a break from using language in order to listen to their bodies.

— James Reling, Licensed Professional Counselor in Portland, OR
 

Experiential therapy is a body-based approach to healing and growth in counseling. Rather than just talking about issues, I integrate experiential processing into our work to help my clients gain deeper insight in an impactful way. This may involve senses or physical sensations tied to past memories.

— Allison Freeman, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Associate in Belmont, NC

Experiential therapy is a holistic approach by which we engage the entire body in the therapeutic process. This engagement leads to the utilization of more regions of the brain which then leads to better integration.

— Kellita Thompson, Marriage & Family Therapist in Brentwood, TN
 

Recognizing that the therapeutic relationship is itself intended to be restorative.

— Eric Wittkopf, Therapist in Roseville, MN

Since art therapy is inherently experiential, my graduate training incorporated an understanding of how experiential therapy works to create shifts in people at physical, emotional, and intellectual levels. Experiential therapy involves the use of in-session experiences to initiate positive and integrative changes in the mental images that become a client’s thoughts, feelings, words, and actions. The experiences that are introduced are specific to the client’s unique nervous system patterns.

— Megan VanMeter, Art Therapist