Understanding Experiential Therapy In Rehab
by Chris Clancy
February 22, 2019
When you think of drug rehab, what are some of the first images that come to mind? Thanks to portrayals in pop culture, you might immediately think of 12-Step groups, individual therapy, and group counseling. While these are undeniably important features of addiction treatment, there’s also another side of the equation: experiential therapy.
As the name implies, experiential therapy involves physically active movements and actions compared to the more traditional “talk therapy.” Activities might include role-playing, the use of props, guided imagery and other active experiences to help patients identify and address subconscious issues.
Experiential therapy works because the patients are not focused on the therapy itself. Therapists and counselors have an opportunity to observe the patient in a situation that allows them to relax and lower their internal “wall.” It’s common to keep your guard up during traditional individual or group talk therapy sessions, but experiential therapy more readily accesses expression and openness.
What Are The Types of Experiential Therapy Activities in Rehab?
At JourneyPure, we utilize faith and evidence-based services for men and their families. We are able to provide a holistic range of recovery support. Our addiction treatment doesn’t just treat the symptoms of addiction – we address the root cause.
Experiential therapies at our JourneyPure residential facilities include:
Equine therapy and addiction therapy. Equine therapy is a form of experiential therapy that incorporates horses. To successfully earn a horse’s cooperation, men in recovery must establish trust, reduce anxiety, communicate clearly and establish boundaries. Equine therapy demands clarity in communication as well as mindfulness of emotions and thoughts.
Art therapy. Painting, drawing, sculpting, songwriting and playing music are all forms of art therapy. The therapeutic use of creating art helps men develop a stronger sense of self-identity and better self-esteem. Both of these are critical to overcoming addiction. Art therapy doesn’t eliminate suffering but gives it a form to be expressed. Art helps uncover truths, insights, and epiphanies that may not be discovered in traditional talk therapies.
Trauma therapy. Men can suffer depression, personality changes, social withdrawal and an unhealthy outlook on life as a result of trauma. Trauma therapy in Tennessee helps address PTSD and aims to minimize the effects of trauma-induced disorders. At Walnut House, we believe that your past does not define you, so our program is designed to help you heal and move past traumatic experiences that may be holding you back.
Substance abuse and any co-occurring mental health disorders may have robbed you of the ability to experience life in a healthy way. Recreation allows us to help you cope with stressful situations and relate to people around you. A wide range of evidence-based experiential therapies will heal your mind, heart, and spirit.
You’ve heard the saying that “actions are more important than words.” At JourneyPure, we believe that both traditional talk therapy and experiential therapy are critical to overcoming addiction and beginning a lifelong journey of recovery.
Chris Clancy is the in-house Content Manager for JourneyPure’s Digital Marketing team, where he gets to explore a wide variety of substance abuse- and mental health-related topics. He has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist and researcher, with strong working knowledge of hospital systems, health insurance, content strategy, and public relations. He lives in Nashville with his wife and two kids.