Experiential Therapy refers to different types of therapy, as well as therapeutic techniques, that require engaging in some type of activity or action like art therapy, working therapeutically with horses, role-playing, family sculpting, exposure therapy, and/or the use of props. Experiential therapy heightens client awareness of underlying issues such as repressed emotions, unconscious conflicts, unresolved trauma, unhealthy relationship patterns, or poor problem-solving skills. These issues may be difficult to identify and explore through traditional talk therapy. The experiences give clients an opportunity to improve their awareness, gain problem-solving skills and practice new behaviors in a safe and compassionate setting.
“Clients who have experienced trauma are excellent candidates for art and experiential therapy because they can provide a means for expressing the inexpressible feelings that are often shut down or pushed away from consciousness in response to traumatic events. It has been exciting in the last 25 years to see that neuroscience research has validated art therapy. Through brain imagery, we now know that the cognitive and executive functioning of the brain is for the most part “offline” when people are recalling their traumas, rendering them essentially “speechless.” This helps explain why traditional verbal therapy is often not enough when working with trauma, and why art (imagery) and other experiential therapies are so effective”.
-Huffington Post, Priscilla Frank. 9/29/2015
Corner Canyon Health Centers provides other experiential therapy activities that are recreationally oriented, like hiking, sober softball, ropes courses, swimming together in the back yard pool, team building exercises, music therapy, yoga, service projects, and massage therapy. These experiences help clients learn new ways of experiencing and working with their emotions. They learn how to behave more mindfully and develop better communications skills through the insights they see reflected to them during each experience. They learn to work together with others to accomplish tasks and goals, and they gain self esteem through accomplishment.