What is

Experiential Addiction Therapy?

Experiential addiction therapy, developed in the 1970s, is a general term for a variety of therapeutic activities that go beyond traditional “talk therapy.” These include equine therapy, art therapy, music therapy, songwriting therapy, adventure therapy, and much more. Being immersed in nature and creative activities can make it easier for patients to identify and confront the unresolved patterns and emotions that compose the core of addiction and psychological problems. Experiential therapy is valuable because it can help to break patients out of their shell and show them new ways to cope with unpleasant personal issues that do not involve drugs or alcohol.

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Outdoor Activities For Substance Abuse Treatment

Through participating in guided activities, clients overcome obstacles, enhancing the self-esteem in the process. The active nature of experiential therapy allows patients to let their defenses down more easily than they would in more traditional individual or group therapy settings. Upon completing an experiential therapy activity, a patient has the opportunity to process the experience with a trained therapist. The therapist offers valuable feedback and a safe space for reflection and discussion.

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A key component of experiential therapy is that it bypasses the intellect. Most addicted individuals have spent time analyzing their behaviors, yet still haven’t been able to create sustainable change. With experiential therapy, an individual is often in a situation in which they must respond quickly, allowing unconscious patterns to emerge. Experiential therapies often reveal true patterns and motivations rather than what an individual thinks they already know, giving direct access to underlying issues that need to be addressed.

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