What Is Experiential Therapy?
What is experiential therapy? Read on to learn more about its benefits and how to seek experiential therapy at Essence Healthcare today.
Experiential therapy is an expressive therapeutic technique that encourages change using objective therapy exercises, including acting, guided imagery, role-play, music, and arts, to help patients relive certain moments or emotions, either past or recent. Re-enacting or re-experiencing such moments helps individuals identify and process their thoughts and emotions more healthily.
Experiential therapy is rooted in humanistic principles emphasizing that humans are actively involved in constructing their realities; therefore, experiential therapy focuses on the individual rather than the symptoms.1
Who Is Experiential Therapy For?
Experiential therapy has proven helpful in grief and loss recovery, eating disorders, depression, trauma, substance use disorders, anger management, and many others. However, in cases of experiential therapy for addiction treatment, experiential psychotherapy can be used alongside other treatments for addiction recovery.
In addition, experiential therapy is very helpful for individuals suffering from physical and behavioral addictions. It is also commonly used by marriage and family therapists. Experiential therapy greatly helps patients who have to overcome obstacles to begin or continue recovery by accessing past or present emotional experiences.2
How Does Experiential Therapy Work?
How Effective Is Experiential Therapy?
Experiential therapy is effective in improving an individual’s psychological coping skills. A study on people involved in an experiential therapy program reported a reduction in psychological stress and progress in psychological well-being soon after commencement.3
Experiential therapy is effective in many individuals and can be used for people who did not respond actively to talk therapy. In addition, experiential therapy can be used alongside other recovery treatments, like in cases of using experiential therapy for addiction treatment to make it more effective.
Types of Experiential Therapy
Drama Therapy or Psychodrama
Music therapy uses music to achieve and address other goals. For example, songwriting, listening to music, and lyrics analysis fulfill movement, cognitive, speech, and mental health goals. Music therapy addresses individuals’ physical and emotional needs because music is a powerful and easily accessible medium allowing them to move, listen to or create music.5
Art therapy uses creative processes to aid an individual’s well-being. Art therapy focuses on artistic procedures like sculpting or painting to develop self-awareness and reduce negative emotions and thoughts. Art therapy can integrate deep feelings; perfection or commercial value is less important than self-expression. Art therapy can also be used as a part of experiential therapy activities for group therapy because it promotes social interaction.6
Uses of Experiential Therapy
Experiential therapy interventions and body-focused treatments are the most clinically powerful tool to help people recover from trauma.
What Does Experiential Therapy Focus On?Experiential family therapy focuses on exploring the causes of relationships or family conflicts. It helps to come up with solutions to these issues. In addition, experiential counseling helps solve communication problems in relationships. Experiential therapy examples can be used and have proven helpful for the following conditions:
- Substance use disorders
- Anger management
- Mood disorders
- Behavior disorders
- Compulsive behaviors
- Eating disorders
- Relationship and family conflicts
Benefits of Experiential Therapy
Experiential therapy helps individuals to re-enact specific experiences and assists them in understanding their response to them. This process allows individuals to release repressed negative emotions.
Emotional processing is a person’s ability to understand and evaluate their emotions without letting these feelings consume them. Experiential therapy gives room for a lot of emotional influx and release. It allows an individual to process emotions healthily.
Experiential therapy helps an individual to refrain from denying or running away from dealing with stress by taking on unhealthy habits. Experiential therapy allows individuals to confront their problems and tackle them instead of avoiding them.
An individual’s perspective actively affects their thoughts, indirectly affecting their actions. Experiential therapy helps to cause a change or shift in perspective, which can help a person to focus on and notice the good aspects and positive emotions in life. They affect how they act towards themselves, the people around them, and how they react in stressful situations.
Experiential therapy helps people to learn to express themselves creatively. Creative expression methods include dancing, painting, and using music and movement. Creative expression allows people to vent in a safe and fun way.
Finding the Right Experiential Therapist
What to Look for In An Experiential Therapist
For individual experiential counseling, a person should look for licensed medical personnel with experience in their preferred experiential therapy activities. In a clinical setting for group experiential treatment services, an individual should look out for licensed and certified treatment centers with certified and professional mental health workers. An experiential therapist should have additional training in one or more experiential therapy techniques like music, art, or poetry.
How to Get Started with Experiential Therapy
What to Expect in Your First Experiential Therapy Session
Just like a regular doctor’s appointment, expect to talk about your symptoms, past trauma, how you cope, your goals, and expectations. The first experiential therapy session may be emotionally draining. This is because it will probably involve your therapist asking many questions to understand and understand how you feel. However, the process becomes much easier as you get more comfortable talking to your therapist as time goes on.
Contact An Experiential Therapist Today At Essence Healthcare
Essence is a mental health network that is always ready to help you. We aim to help you find a way to navigate through life challenges while preserving your mental health. In addition, we have expert, highly trained therapists who offer help beyond mental health services to people around the country. We oversee each case carefully, with our entire team working to support you in order to find and deliver the best methods to achieve emotional release.
Contact us at Essence Healthcare to get in touch with an experiential therapist today.