Experiential Therapy – What Role Does It Play in Recovery?
Experiential therapy finds it roots in the works of Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, and Fritz Perls. Humanistic in nature, it is not limited to a single “form”, but a number of different types of therapy designed to focus on client engagement.
The intent of experiential therapy is to grow self-awareness. With the increase of self-awareness, clients tend to present a decrease of disassociation and avoidance. This type of therapy allows clients to get in touch with their emotions, motives, and desires.
Several types of psychotherapy qualify as experiential therapy. And since there are so many different types, this article will focus on just a few.
Equine Therapy, also known as Equine-Assisted Therapy, is a treatment that involves – in most cases – hands-on experiences with horses. It is designed to help those who suffer from ADD, anxiety, autism, cerebral palsy, dementia, depression and genetic syndromes such as Down Syndrome. Those dealing with traumatic brain injuries, behavioral or abuse issues, and several other mental health issues have benefitted from equine therapy.
Art Therapy involves drawing, painting, clay modeling, sculpting or coloring to help clients express themselves creatively. Together with their therapist, they can then examine the psychological and emotional undertones in their art. They can then decode symbols and metaphors behind their work, helping them truly connect with the motivations and feelings they are experiencing.
Adventure or Wilderness Therapy
Adventure Therapy (or Wilderness Therapy) generally challenges clients to perform outside of their comfort zone(s). Typical formats include camping, climbing, hiking, ropes courses, and even surfing. Most of these activities require joint participation with other clients, thereby helping develop trust with peers and guides.
As we mentioned, there are many expressions of experiential therapy. The benefits of such therapies include, but are not limited to:
- Increased stress management skills
- Builds stronger relationships with others
- Improves focus and coordination
- Increases capacity for dependence
- Increases cooperation
- Reduces anxiety and depression
- Increases problem-solving and coping skills
- Increases self-awareness
- Increases creativity
If you’d like to explore whether experiential therapy is a good fit for you, please don’t hesitate to contact us at A New Outlook Counseling Services at 720-336-4019 or https://www.ColoradoCounselor.org. We have 4 locations to serve Colorado:
- Highlands Ranch-Main Office–Robert J. Johnson, SAP, MAC, LAC
- Denver Office– Alissa Zucker, MA, LAC
- Lakewood Office– Rick Shriner, CACIII
- Cherry Creek Office– Matthew Jarvis, MA, LPC, LAC, NCC, EMDR