What is Experiential Therapy?
Experiential therapy is a tool for exploring relationships and connections with others during eating disorder treatment, trauma therapy and drug rehab. Experiential therapy blends therapies like Gestalt and family therapy with models such as sculpture and role playing. The purpose is to enact past and present emotional climates of the family of origin along with other significant relationships in a client’s life. This leads to self-discovery, a crucial element of successful psychological disturbance or eating disorder treatment model.
In re-experiencing these events and relationships the client is able to view their relationships from a different perspective. This aids in the release of emotions that may have been blocked and repressed and has significant benefits in drug treatment, trauma recovery and other healing strategies.
The goal of Experiential Therapy in eating disorder treatment and trauma therapy is to free a client from the unresolved emotions around relationships so that they are freer to live in the present. By re-experiencing the emotional climate of the family, anger, shame and hurt can finally be expressed, making room for feelings of love, inner peace, and forgiveness.
Therapies/Activities Involved with Experiential Therapy
- Gestalt therapy
- Rogerian therapy
- Family therapy
- Art therapy
- Role playing
Benefits of Experiential Therapy
There therapy holds many benefits, these include:
- Higher self-confidence and independence
- Activities combined with learning, stretching the body and the mind
- Greater focus on the present
- Increased physical ability
- Connections made between the actual and the symbolic
- Decreased feelings of depression, anxiety and low self-confidence
- Ability to express one’s feelings
- Connecting with one’s self
- Reflection on certain activities
- Communication, enriched relationships
- Replacement of negative behaviors with activities that promote creativity and promote positive energy
- Emotions expressed through other means
- Found purpose in life
- Limits compulsive behaviors