Experiential therapy includes various therapeutic techniques rather than a type of psychotherapy. Clients take part in activities that help them gain the skills they need to solve problems and learn new behaviors. Experiential therapy is typically part of a comprehensive therapeutic approach that includes talk therapy, mindfulness therapy, and others.
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 these clients have appropriate ways to express their feelings when talking is too overwhelming.
How Experiential Therapies Work
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 can lead to unhealthy outcomes. Only when clients acknowledge their emotions – the good and the bad – can they move forward with healing.
When clients engage in experiential therapy activities, our therapists observe them. To the client it doesn’t feel like a therapy session, but it gives our therapists insight into each client’s psyche. Everything from a client’s facial expressions to what they say can provide therapists with a greater understanding of their mental state. When participating in an activity, clients are usually more comfortable and relaxed, and their expressions and reactions are more likely to reveal their true feelings.
Some of our experiential therapies include: