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 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

I practice from an experiential theoretical orientation meaning I see our experiences as important for understanding what and how we have learned as well as ways we continue to learn in the present for the future. Experiential therapy includes the practice of experiencing life and implementing consistently the skills and practices discussed in counseling.

— Natasha Moharter, Counselor in , CA
 

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

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
 

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 Mechanicsburg, PA

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
 

I am a firm believer in practicing either in the sanctity of the therapy session or in real life activities that help us work through trauma, distress and emotions. Often when we engage in experiential activities such as guided imagery or guided language about a worry or concern, we uncover deep feelings and beliefs that we did not know existed, or were suppressed. It can be liberating to put therapy into action with concrete experiential activity and uncover deep meaning and truth.

— Allyn Latorre, Licensed Clinical Social Worker

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 SEP, LMFT, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Berkeley, CA
 

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

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
 

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

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
 

Therapy should provide profound and lasting healing, not merely symptom management. I practice an evidenced-based approach to healing called Emotion-Focused Therapy. EFT aims to activate your emotions, to help you to explore them, and in some cases change them. You’ll learn which emotions are adaptive, pointing you towards new experiences and growth. You’ll also learn to change painful emotions and memories.

— Aimee Ruscio, Psychologist in Washington, DC

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
 

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

Experiential Therapy brings the "story" of what's happening into life. Using carefully crafted re-enactments of specific situations w/another person - the argument you had last night, the talk you need to have with your boss, the conversation you wish you had w/ a parent - or connections between different parts of yourself - the parts that are "responsible" & the parts that are carefree. The endgame is to FEEL and KNOW your experience in the HERE and NOW, versus THINKing about things could be.

— Randi Kofsky, Marriage & Family Therapist in Santa Monica, CA
 

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