Experiential therapy is an effective treatment for a wide range of behavioral and psychological problems, including alcohol and drug addiction, trauma and eating disorders.
Experiential therapy is based on guided activities that help patients develop coping mechanisms and life skills. In experiential therapy, there is an emphasis on doing things rather than on simply talking. By participating in physical activities, patients are able to connect with their inner self and are better able to replace unhealthy ways of thinking with new, self-supporting thought patterns.
In experiential therapy, there is an emphasis on doing things rather than on simply talking.
“Experiential” is a catch-all term that describes a number of different therapy components. These components may include:
- outdoor experiences such as hiking and mountain biking
Some forms of experiential therapy involve the use of dramatization and role playing to recreate and resolve past life experiences. The goal of each of these components is to help the patient develop life skills, social skills and coping skills. By taking part in new activities, the patient is encouraged to change and grow.
These are some of the benefits of experiential therapy:
- Develop a positive self-image by becoming more aware of the body through movement
- Foster greater self-awareness and stronger interpersonal relationships through group activities
- Increase physical fitness, self-confidence and skill level through exercise and outdoor challenges
- Improve creativity and problem-solving skills by working with artistic imagery and music
- Deal with unresolved emotional and relationship issues and learn to live in the present
Many psychological issues and unhealthy habits are rooted in an inability to express one’s innermost feelings. Experiential therapy helps patients learn how to express themselves physically, mentally and emotionally. With a therapist’s assistance, hidden issues are uncovered and worked through. In a clinical setting, experiential therapy provides a way to reconnect the body and mind with the unconscious.
For those who are struggling with addiction, the ability to experience and enjoy life has been damaged.
Experiential therapy provides the opportunity to learn how to re-experience life. It provides a path from the pain of addiction to a healthy and positive approach to living. When used in combination with counseling sessions, experiential therapy can provide the key to reintegration with an addiction-free life.
Since the 1970s, experiential therapy has been used to help patients improve their quality of life by making them more aware of the benefits of physical and mental health. Patients are empowered by what they experience during therapy and learn to take responsibility for their own emotional and health issues. The challenges faced during experiential therapy and the resulting sense of achievement provide the motivation to overcome life’s challenges once the course of treatment has been completed.