Experiential therapy provides a unique approach to helping treat addiction. Traditional therapies tend to focus on thoughts and feelings, whereas experiential therapies give you the chance to physically take part in an activity. It’s an especially helpful tool for people who have trouble expressing their feelings in a therapy session. Experiential therapies allow a more comfortable environment for people to deal with difficult emotions or trauma associated with their addiction through a different way of communication.
What Is Experiential Therapy?
Being able to deal with emotions and triggers rather than having to talk about them with a therapist gives people an alternative way to go through treatment and recovery for an addiction. It can be beneficial for both the person receiving therapy and the therapist overseeing the therapy. Individuals in experiential therapy work on reliving and reenacting real-life experiences that either have happened to them in the past or that they fear will happen in the future. These experiences could be great hurdles to a successful recovery, so learning what works for you to best deal with these is an essential part of the treatment and recovery process.
One of the most significant advantages of experiential therapy is that it doesn’t follow the same formula for each person. Each therapist is able to customize their approach so that the individual gets an approach that works best for them. Experiential therapy at Palo Verde Wellness takes the form of both adventure therapy and wilderness therapy. Getting outside in nature in beautiful Palm Springs and the surrounding areas is something we value as part of the therapeutic experience.
Experiential therapy also gives the therapist a unique perspective. They are able to observe individuals in a more natural environment where they may be more comfortable than in a more traditional therapy setting.
Benefits of Experiential Therapy
Imagine tackling triggers and negative emotions associated with your addiction head-on while taking part in an active task instead of sitting in a therapist’s chair. Sometimes all it takes is a change in scenery and structure to make someone feel more comfortable opening up about their feelings.
At Palo Verde Wellness in Palm Springs, California, we utilize experiential therapy alongside other therapeutic approaches so that each person in our care receives a customized treatment plan that is unique to them and their needs—getting outside and taking advantage of the environment available while role-playing some real-life scenarios has proven an effective way to work through challenging barriers to recovery. There is still hard work being done through these therapy sessions, and participants will have to step outside their comfort zone and put trust in the process, the therapist, and themselves.
Activities that are part of experiential therapy center around teamwork, communication, trust, and building interpersonal skills. Other benefits include:
- Improved self-esteem
- Improved self-image
- Developing better problem-solving skills
- Improved self-reliance
- Reduced impulsivity
- Better focus
- Being better prepared to resolve trauma
Being able to literally experience the feelings you may be repressing or having trouble communicating can be very liberating for participants in experiential therapy. These feelings – like success, disappointment, anxiety, fear, or accountability – are directly connected to traumas or triggers that lead to addiction.
Discover Experiential Therapy at Palo Verde Wellness
Experiential therapy is just one of many therapeutic approaches offered at Palo Verde Wellness. Our experienced and highly trained team of clinicians – who are in recovery are your guides through the entire treatment and recovery process, including aftercare. In addition to experiential therapy, we offer:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) treatment
- Relapse prevention therapy
- Meditative therapy
- Motivational interviewing
Experiential therapy can be used as part of addiction, mental health, and dual diagnosis treatment. For more information on addiction therapy programs in San Diego and Orange Counties, give the Palo Verde Wellness team a call at 760.209.6683 or fill out our online form.