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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I am currently in an intensive Core Training on Intensive Short Term Dynamic Psychotherapy.

— Alison Schweichler, Counselor in Orchard Park, NY

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 Raleigh, NC

Once we understand how the trauma is affecting you today we can do a deeper piece of work. Experiential therapy creates an internal shift and is more effective than just talk therapy alone. It breaks through unconscious resistances and gets to the root of the underlying traumas. By depicting your inner world visually through inner child work, Gestalt empty chair techniques, psychodrama techniques etc, you will experience new insights, release emotions, and new healthy beliefs about self emerge.

— Leanne Tanis, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Carefree, AZ

Jodi's education in Contemplative Psychotherapy as well as her further training in body-centered Play Therapy and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy combines with her personal study of movement practices and expressive arts to create a perfect atmosphere for experiential therapy...beyond just talk.

— Jodi Alieksaites, Licensed Professional Counselor in Columbia, MO

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 I use primarily with adolescents since their emotions are important and to understand that emotions are important. I allow my clients to speak from emotion since they have a lot to say and there is no judgment.

— Amisha Gandhi, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Kirkland, WA

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

Facilitates group activities that are experiential.

— Forest Benedict, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Los Angeles, CA

Hakomi and Somatic Experiencing are types of experiential therapies, which means working in the present moment experience of what is happening in your body. Sometimes it's helpful for my clients to take a break from using language in order to listen to their bodies.

— James Reling, Licensed Professional Counselor in Portland, OR

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

Experiential therapists believe we need new experiences to heal from past experiences, especially when those past experiences have gotten stuck and unprocessed. Experiential therapy refers to treatment approaches that are more interactive, such as sand tray, art, music re-enactments, and others.

— Morgan Ticum, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Overland Park, KS

Experiential Therapy is experience based processes. It utilizes techniques such as role-playing, music, guided imagery and re-experiences of emotional situations or relationships. Through the processes clients begin to identify the emotions associated with their experiences. I empower clients with these processes to let go of negative feelings, shame, anger and hurt while recreating positive thinking patterns. Experiential Therapy is used to treat trauma, behaviors and debilitating emotions.

— Cindy Hyde, Licensed Professional Counselor in Dallas, TX

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

You may be wondering, "what is experiential therapy?" I provide an experiential approach to therapy that may go beyond typical "talk therapy", allowing you to connect with deeper parts of yourself to heal. Collectively, we can collaborate and participate in immersive experiences, including creative activities, play, art, walk-and-talk, and more.

— Jenna Caldwell, Marriage & Family Therapist in Arvada, 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

Experiential therapy is an approach to psychotherapy that includes recreational activities, various expressive modalities, and other physical and emotional activities. Through hands-on activities or role-play, children, teens, and adults can learn to identify and focus on their feelings. The goal is to improve overall well-being and functioning and overcome negative emotions.

— Jon Soileau, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in Kansas City, MO

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

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

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