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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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 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, Licensed Professional Counselor Associate in Colorado Springs, 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

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

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

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

In Experiential Therapy, the client uses their body to recreate or create neurological pathways that eventually can override 'destructive' behaviors that at one point in time were constructive and permitted the client to survive.

— Sarah Fleming, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor in Marietta, GA

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 uses present-moment experiences and self-reflection to identify and practice skills and strengths. It's a reach to translate this into exclusively online therapy since so much of my background in this area has involved in-depth, hands-on work, often in wilderness environments, but at the core it's about understanding our learning processes and viewing life experience in all it's confusing bittersweetness as ongoing opportunity for growth.

— Sara Smithson, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Port Townsend, WA

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 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 Coral Springs, FL

Have you ever felt like you could talk yourself—and your therapist—in circles, but it was a waste of time and never translated to meaningful change? Yeah, me too. I combine talk therapy with other evidence-based techniques such as expressive and creative arts, role play, ecotherapy, self-designed ceremony, and movement and body awareness. These techniques allow you to have a new experience RIGHT NOW, which helps your brain update your understanding of the world and yourself.

— Rachel Shopper, Counselor in Asheville, NC

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

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

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

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

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

There's nothing more memorable than an experience! Using a hands-on approach to therapy is helpful for individuals who are kinetic learners or don't want to sit still any longer. Sometimes this looks like experiencing emotions; other times, it can be a more literal approach. Experiences shape us and define who we are and whom we become; providing low-risk experiences can help rewire the brain to understand an experience, a current commitment, or a future endeavor differently.

— Jen Strickland, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Associate in Charlotte, NC

I like experiential approaches because it gives us the freedom and ability to experience what is healing in that exact moment.

— Jessica Magnuson, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist