Experiential therapy is a powerful therapeutic technique that aims to place subjects into an experience that triggers a new mindset or perspective. Experiential therapy can also serve to re-enact and re-experience emotional situations from the past that helps clients process trauma or other concerns. At Ascend, we use experiential therapy as part of every client’s personalized treatment plan. Many of our clients connect with their peers, the world, and themselves in new ways because of the best experiential therapies we have to offer.
So what are their favorite therapies? Check out which experiential therapy for teens get rave reviews from our clients and learn more about why they help!
What Is Experiential Therapy?
Experiential therapy is a form of therapy that uses direct immersion in an experience as a mode of treatment. In this type of treatment, the subject can focus on the activities and, through the experience, begins to identify the root emotions associated with their current mental and emotional state. Under the guidance of a trained group facilitator, the client can start to release and process negative feelings such as anger, hurt, or shame as they relate to past experiences.
Experiential therapy is most often utilized as a part of a more comprehensive treatment program for people of all ages and genders. It can be an effective treatment option for various issues, including behavioral concerns, mental health issues, substance abuse, trauma, depression, anger issues, and more. Experiential therapy is often used in conjunction with group therapy, family therapy, and talk therapy.
The Four Best Experiential Therapies According to Ascend Clients!
1. Rock to Recovery
Rock to Recovery is a fun and exciting approach to experiential therapy that utilizes the power of music. The goal of this group therapy session is to allow music to be a form of creative expression that helps clients channel their emotions, release repressed feelings, and learn about themselves on a deeper level. This treatment is a fantastic opportunity for our clients because it helps to trigger the feel-good chemicals involved in pure expression and gives our teens a break from the more stressful moments in their day. Over time, music therapy can lead to drastic changes in mental state and emotional well-being.
While our clients may not be aware of the clinical benefits they’re getting, they consider Rock to Recovery one of the best experiential therapies simply because they like making music and having fun!
2. Equine Therapy
During equine therapy, clients work with horses to connect with animals and other peers. This treatment method enhances physical and emotional healing. We teach our clients about responsibility through the care of other beings and animals, provide comfort and connection with a non-confrontational animal, and help clients discover how they fit into the eco-system of the world through an exploration of nature.
A simple connection with animals makes this one of the best experiential therapies for our teens because there is less of an emotional burden to overtly process traumas as they interact with the horses.
3. Surf Therapy
Surf therapy has emerged as a growing therapeutic intervention in diverse communities worldwide because it can be used as an anchor to help individuals work through trauma, emotional instability, depression, substance abuse, and other emotional imbalances. We find this therapy especially helpful for those who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Surfing is a metaphor for balance, and it challenges patients to think outside the box as they learn to balance their internal processes amidst life’s shifting, unpredictable demands.
Our clients also consider this one of the best experiential therapies because they get to spend time on the beach, of course!
Last but definitely not least, breathwork is a tried-and-true experiential therapy technique that helps provide a break from the endless barrage of thoughts and emotions our clients experience daily. Breathwork goes hand in hand with meditation, and both are invaluable tools to help clients discover coping mechanisms that can help them weather strong emotions, panic attacks, and difficult decisions.
Other Experiential Therapies We Love
These are by no means the only experiential therapy options we offer at Ascend, these are simply the ones our clients look forward to the most. Other types of experiential therapy we offer include Recovery Fit, cooking lessons, gardening, hiking, Dungeons & Dragons, poetry, improv, acting, painting, and STEM group. If our clients don’t like one experiential therapy activity, there’s always something else that grabs their interest.
If you enjoyed learning about some of the best experiential therapies we offer, check out our blog about recreational therapy and how it offers a different outlet for our clients.