What Is Experiential Therapy?

Talk therapy is one of the most-used treatments for people dealing with mental health issues. It’s highly effective, but it’s not the only type of treatment available. More and more treatment centers recognize the value of other forms of therapy, including holistic options. However, what is experiential therapy? Furthermore, how does it work for someone suffering from anxiety or struggling with an eating disorder?

The term refers to various therapeutic techniques rather than a type of psychotherapy. Clients take part in an activity, and as they immerse themselves in action, they gain skills to help them solve problems and learn new behaviors. In general, it’s part of a comprehensive therapeutic approach that includes other therapies, such as talk therapy or mindfulness therapy.

Experiential therapy can be very beneficial for clients who have a difficult time with talk therapy. Some people have trouble verbalizing problematic issues because they’re so traumatized by them. Others become so agitated or angry when thinking about the problem that sessions can’t continue. It’s vital that they have appropriate ways to express their feelings when talking is too overwhelming.

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How Therapy Helps

It’s not uncommon for people with various mental health issues to have unresolved pain from their past, often buried on some subconscious level. Due to the negative events in their past, they find it hard to express their feelings or have healthy relationships. They often lack a sense of self-awareness and don’t feel validated enough to express their real emotions or desires.

Continuing to bury painful feelings leads to unhealthy outcomes. Only when clients acknowledge their emotions — good and bad — can they move forward with healing.

When clients engage in experiential therapy activities, therapists observe them. Although it’s in a therapeutic environment, the activities are similar to ones clients would do in real life.

To the client, it doesn’t feel like a therapy session, but it gives professionals insight into a person’s psyche. Everything from how a client looks to what she says can provide therapists with a greater understanding of her mental state. When busy in an activity, clients are usually more comfortable and relaxed. Their expressions and reactions are much more likely to reveal their true selves.

Experiential Therapy Activities

What kinds of activities will you do in experiential therapy? There are various types, and a skilled counselor will tailor those that best fit your preferences and personality. You might participate in:

  • Animal-assisted therapy
  • Wilderness therapy
  • Art therapy
  • Sand-tray therapy
  • Music therapy
  • Adventure therapy

Treatment aims to show clients how to take a proactive approach to dealing with stressful situations and negative emotions from past events. They learn that how they respond to challenges makes a considerable difference in their lives. If their past is full of poor choices, then they’ll realize better ways to communicate with others and understand themselves.

In time, they’ll see that they control their actions. No matter what emotions they feel, their emotions don’t have to overwhelm them. This contributes to greater self-awareness, better coping skills, and more confidence.


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Renew hope. Restore health. Recover life.

Has a past trauma affected your life, preventing you from being the whole, healthy woman you want to be? If so, Magnolia Creek offers treatment that could make a positive difference. We’re an eating disorder and mental health treatment center just for women.

Located in a tranquil setting in Columbiana, Alabama, our center maintains an intimate, collaborative atmosphere. We’ll help you uncover your true worth as you grow stronger and more empowered.

We provide services, such as:

At Magnolia Creek, you’ll experience a peaceful, therapeutic environment that fosters self-acceptance and healing. Contact us today, and get ready to discover a new you and a host of new possibilities. Call 205-409-4220 to find out more about experiential therapy.

We are here to help you. Contact Us @ 205-409-4220 or send us an email.

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