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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Do you remember grade school show and tell? The best presentations made you feel like you are having the experience with them, rather than just being told about it. Experiential therapy invites you to bring your experiences to life, so that you get to have a new and empowering experience with an old memory, thought or idea.

— Arianna Wheat, Creative Art Therapist in Los Angeles, CA

I was introduced to the radical immediate effectiveness of Experiential, Here and Now Therapy through the writings of Fritz Perls and the work of some of his students with whom I studied and trained in the early 1970's. Experiential Therapy simply means bringing awareness and attention to your experience in the present moment, as it unfolds, with the guidance and support of a skilled therapist, and reporting what you discover. It can be an effective path to healing.

— Peter Carpentieri, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Berkeley, CA

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, Professional Counselor Associate 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, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Johns Island, SC

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 Minneapolis, MN

Experiential Therapy covers the many ways our therapist use tools to guide you. There are a variety of ways that creativity is employed to help you meet your therapy goals here. One is a special certification in PsychoDrama. The therapist that uses this method is typically open-minded and attuned to their client/s.

— It's Your Therapy LLC, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor in Boca Raton, FL

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

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 did work with children early on and love integrating the experiential side of things through use of animal-assisted counseling, sand tray, and other techniques to help bring issues more into more the moment and address them appropriately.

— Jorge Flores, Licensed Professional Counselor in Denver, CO

Hakomi is a type of experiential therapy, which means going beyond talk-therapy to focus on the moment.

— James Reling, Professional Counselor Associate in Portland, OR

When we work together experientially, the aim is to bring your attention and energy into present time, transforming your relationship to the weight of your history, liberating you to make subtle but incredibly powerful “inner choices” that invite and empower your full potential as a human being.

— Christo Brehm, Psychotherapist in Eugene, OR

You’ve been shaped by your experiences, good, bad, and otherwise. Art therapy is an inherently experiential and embodied way to re-work what’s not working and give you greater mastery of what’s going on inside so you can demonstrate greater mastery to the outside world. I am a board-certified art therapist and would love to help you create a new relationship with your experiences! See www.meganvanmeter.com for details about how I help helping professionals in Arizona, Indiana, and Texas.

— Megan VanMeter, Art Therapist

Experiential therapy is a therapeutic technique that uses expressive tools and activities, such as role-playing or acting, props, arts and crafts, music, animal care, guided imagery, or various forms of recreation to re-enact and re-experience emotional situations from past and recent relationships. The client focuses on the activities and, through the experience, begins to identify emotions associated with success, disappointment, responsibility, and self-esteem.

— Megan Moeller, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Associate in ,

EFT involves a therapeutic style that combines both following and guiding the client’s experiential process, emphasizing the importance of both relationship and intervention skills. It views emotion as the fundamental datum of human experience while recognizing the importance of meaning making, and views emotion and cognition as inextricably intertwined.

— Michael Bricker, Psychologist in Chicago, IL

Experiential therapy helps clients to move through layers of understanding their coping styles, emotions, expectations, and beliefs to understand what is at the core of the self and determine more fully what they really need and want. The therapist can help clients process these layers of self through slowly inviting clients to create a deeper understanding of why they behave how they do and create changes.

— Kathleen Smith, Marriage & Family Therapist in Washington, DC

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

Experiential therapy offers exercises designed to improve self-awareness, as well as to discover underlying emotions and unconscious beliefs that can better come to the forefront when experienced versus purely thinking about or talking about. It allows for an externalized experience which creates improved understanding for clients, which can then lead to change.

— Greyson Smith @ Forge Counseling Collective, Licensed Professional Counselor Associate in Colorado Springs, CO