Experiential Therapy

Experiential therapy can be a game-changer for those preteens, teens or young adults who have trouble expressing deep emotions or talking about painful times in their lives in a traditional therapy setting.

What is Experiential Therapy?

Experiential therapy is probably not what comes to mind when you typically think of therapy. As its name indicates, experiential therapy offers a hands-on activity and experience-based approach that involves individual and group outings and in-the-moment interventions, allowing your child’s therapist to observe them in real-world situations. These activities and experiences provide interactive opportunities for your child to open up and engage more freely with their therapist, feeling less pressure or resistance in a relaxed setting than they might with traditional in-office therapy methods, without being overly aware of the therapy itself.

Used in conjunction with more traditional “talk-based therapy", this approach addresses your child in the way or environment where they feel more comfortable and respond best. An experiential therapy session could take place at an art studio, horse stable, yoga class, coffee shop, include a hike or bike ride, indoor or outdoor rock climbing or playing basketball in the park.

Common Disorders and Symptoms Treated Through Experiential Therapy

Experiential therapy provides a variety of positive health outcomes for preteens, teens and young adults struggling with the following mental health and substance use disorders, symptoms or issues:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Self-Harm
  • Anger
  • Grief
  • Compulsive Behavior
  • Substance Use
  • Psychological or Physical Trauma
  • Family Conflict / Communication Issues

What are the Benefits of Experiential Therapy?

The goal of this approach is to help your child gain insight and awareness into the nature of their inner thoughts, feelings, interactions, experiences and needs.

There are a variety of ways experiential therapy can help your child accomplish this:

  • Build trust in themself and others.
  • Focus on the present.
  • Better handle stressors, fears and obstacles.
  • Work as part of a team and ask for help.
  • Build self-confidence and believe in themself.
  • Manage feelings of depression, anxiety or hopelessness.
  • Enhance their communication and problem-solving skills.
  • Take personal responsibility in and for their life.
  • Better understand personal relationships and conflicts.
  • Gain a greater understanding of how choices impact others.
  • Get in touch with their needs, desires, motives and emotions.
  • Make better choices that align with their values and needs.
  • Set and reach goals.
  • Appreciate the value of grit and perseverance.

Is Experiential Therapy Right for My Child?

The success of different therapeutic approaches depends on the needs of your preteen, teen or young adult. There are several different approaches that our mental health professionals can take to provide therapy. After talking with you, the parents, and with your child about their symptoms—our therapist will recommend and decide which approach would be best based on the underlying factors contributing to the condition. While different approaches work differently or better for certain children than others, in the end your teen should feel comfortable with the chosen approach to get the most from their therapy sessions.

Interested in Experiential Therapy? Get in Touch!

The best way to figure out which type of therapy treatment is best for your family is to talk with one of our mental health professionals. They will consider the symptoms, treatment history and goals you outline for what you and your child want out of therapy to recommend the best next steps specific to your situation.

If you think experiential therapy may be an effective treatment, we'd like to invite you to contact us and speak with one of our therapists at Potomac Programs.

Teen Enjoying Creative Art Experiential Therapy at Potomac Programs