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

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 Baltimore, MD

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 Puyallup, WA

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

We create simple Experiments from IN REAL LIFE situations and step into the LAB where we SLOW DOWN to observe what happens INTERNALLY when you think certain thoughts or interact with specific others. We work with what happens for you when sh*t happens-- in work, family, friendships, intimate relationships. Experiments add an enhanced dimension to talk therapy, making it more impactful and easier to note and reflect upon between sessions, supporting personal growth.

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

Research has shown that the experience you have in a session impacts you far more greatly than what is said. The advantage of going to therapy versus telling a friend your problems (although this is a very helpful and important part of life!) is that I can help you step out of the micro and look at the macro (patterns and dynamics) that is impacting you and can help you get to the root problem rather than trying to fix symptoms.

— Ashley Nolan, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in ,

I offer an environment to explore challenging emotions and struggles through hands on and expressive avenues (creative art activities, sand, clay, puppets, etc.).

— Tisha Moon, Licensed Professional Counselor in Vienna, VA

My therapy approach is a mixture of verbal psychotherapy (talking) interspersed with experiential exercises to get to the "meat" of what is happening. I have found that talking is helpful but often keeps everything on the surface, but that doing even simple experiential work helps clients remain grounded, in their bodies, and more able to integrate what they learn during therapy.

— Jennifer Hastings, Psychotherapist in New York, NY

I believe in the power of movement in nature to assist in healing and growth. Through walk and talk therapy clients get the opportunity to engage in therapy in a different way that is less intimidating than in an office setting. Physical activity has numerous benefits on mental health in addition to physical health. Time in nature and disconnecting from electronics and the "inside world", allows for greater sense of presence and increased renewal.

— Valerie Fahie, Counselor in Doylestown, PA

I utilize several techniques, or ways of approaching change, by creating an atmosphere in session that will foster healing and growth. This may look like allowing emotions to show up in the space we share in session and using that to create a deeper understanding of walking in your shoes and moving through these stories that you may carry with you.

— Chelze Zamani, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Costa Mesa, CA

Did you know we can reprogram our brains just like a computer? We grew up believing what important caregivers, teachers or partners reflected back to us. These were cemented into beliefs about ourselves and became our life scripts. But what if they're not true? What if we're living someone else's version of ourselves? We will actively examine beliefs that cause pain and prune the ones that are false and limiting.

— Alexandra Hinst, Counselor in Denver, CO

At RISE we utilize a variery of different experiential therapeutic techniques in individual, family, relational, group, and in our Holistic Trauma Program. Movement, Music, Nature, Somatic Exercises, Psychodrama, Team Building, Self Empowerment, art therapy, creative and self expression, and a variety of other therapeutic techniques depending on the clients needs.

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

Experiential family therapy is a psychotherapy model which intersects family systems theory and psychodynamic theory. It is the primary model within which my post-master's supervision was grounded, and which I have continued to work and study.

— Jamie Steele, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist

Wherever you go...there you are...and so are the patterns no longer serving you. Rather than send a client out into the world between sessions with a list of "to-do's", I work experientially and relationally in the moment to collaborate on what is getting in the way of a more connecting experience for clients.

— Whitney Sutherland, Licensed Professional Counselor in , TX