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

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

Change, emotional growth, and personal empowerment are all among the benefits of participating in an effective experiential therapy program. Because experiential therapy patients are often focused on the task or activity at hand — rather than on the therapeutic aspect of the experience — they are more likely to behave in a more unguarded and genuine manner.

— Kira Hayes, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Newark, OH

I have engaged individuals and family's in experiential treatment utilizing role plays, enactments, and in the moment interactive interventions to address the desired needs. For example rather than a couple explaining a conversation we role play the significant situation and then provide in the moment feedback based off of each person's statements. We will then attempt the new skills in therapy to practice.

— Jasmine Colegrove, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Charlotte, NC

My focus is on the person and their narrative, and the work is based on experiential, humanistic, and contemplative principles. It includes looking at emotions, thoughts, beliefs, and memories while cultivating heightened mindfulness throughout the process. This is the path to connecting one’s response (mind, body, spirit, emotion) to experience, and bringing them to a fuller understanding and integration. This may ease some suffering.

— Neil Beresin, Counselor in Philadelphia, PA

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 ,

My style is "here-and-now", using the therapeutic relationship to give you a transformative experience of feeling seen and understood for who you really are. This is the foundation of change that has a ripple effect into the rest of your life, transforming your relationships.

— Carolyn Moore, Counselor in San Francisco, CA

Virgina Satir was a boss. She emphasized how clients needed to identify and process their emotions by verbalizing them in the moment. With Experiential interventions, we will work on developing your ability to name your emotions and the thoughts underlying them. We will do writing interventions and "replays" where we review triggering incidents from your past to help you bring a connection between what you are feeling, saying, and doing.

— Marissa Esquibel, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Claremont, CA

My clients work out their healing by confronting the object of their pain utilizing an empty chair, letters they don't send, somatic movement, psychodrama, and other techniques to actively re-engage in the wounding experience but this time with greater resources and support, resulting in the completion of the emotional cycle and release of the stuck emotions.

— Laurie Cape, Licensed Professional Counselor in Bowling Green, KY

Experiential therapy is one of the most powerful modalities in family therapy because it is based on the present moment and living the current experience. I received training during my master's program and was provided hands-on learning with this therapy. While it is mainly a family therapy modality, I have found it beneficial in all types of therapy to include individual, couples and group.

— Hiliary Beatty, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Spokane, WA

Differently than with traditional talk therapy, our sessions will be dynamic! Bringing movement into sessions creates an energy that facilitates true and deep-seated growth in your life. You not only will mindfully understand the emotions that movement is bringing up for you, but will be able to apply these new awarenesses to your life in valuable and meaningful ways.

— Erin Howe MA, BC-DMT, CRM, Therapist in Oceanside, CA

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