Experiential therapy refers to therapeutic interventions in which expressive tools and activities are utilized to create emotional connection and awareness. Through art, movement, play therapy, family activities, and other creative interventions, therapy can help individuals or groups increase awareness of their internal representations of the world. These therapeutic exercises and activities allow people to develop insight and build connections to their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Regardless of type, it generally involves a structured, hands-on approach with individual clients, allowing them to become more aware of themselves, their emotions, and their overall experience through more than one sense.
Types of experiential therapy offered at QUEST include:
Play therapy for children
Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that encourages free self-expression through artistic exercises such as drawing, painting or modeling. Art therapists work with a broad spectrum of patients, including children, teenagers, and adults. Art therapy can often prove to be effective where other forms of therapy and communication are not. It is used to treat a variety of behavioral or mental health conditions. The link between neuroscience and art therapy has been well-established, and a diverse number of patients have benefited from this practice.
Benefits of art therapy:
The ability to express inner feelings: Creating art with a therapist can be a valuable way of expressing thoughts and emotions that are too complex or difficult to talk about. Many people find creativity helps them see their problems more clearly so that they can consider and address them.
Recognition of personal growth and inner strength: Art gives you a platform from which to speak, which not only increases self-esteem, but it also helps you recognize your strengths, achievements and the experiences which have shaped you.
When it comes to achieving the full benefits of art therapy, talent and prior skill aren't important. Art therapy is incredibly flexible and can be applied to many different situations. Your therapist will guide you through the process and help you find connections to your art that bring meaning and understanding to your life.
Play therapy is primarily used to help children aged 3 to 12 explore their emotions through play. This method encourages free self-expression and provides a safe, comfortable environment where the child can express repressed thoughts and feelings. The aim is to help children learn to express themselves in healthier, more appropriate ways, while also improving their ability to problem-solve and increasing self-confidence.
Narrative Therapy is an approach to therapy which enables individuals to take charge in owning and sharing their story, using language that is empowering, to reshape their experience. Individuals in narrative therapy are seen as the leaders of their own mental health care as the act of story-telling removes any kind of pathology language from their experience. Those struggling with depression, post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and complex grief can benefit from this therapeutic approach.
Meditation is the dedicated act of focusing attention in order to quiet mental chatter and become still despite external stress and chaos. It’s becoming increasingly popular now that research is shedding light on the effectiveness of this ancient practice. Practiced regularly, meditation decreases distractibility and emotional reactivity to stressful situations and our own thoughts and feelings. Meditation increases a sense of calm, relaxation, and balance.
The practice of yoga has been around for thousands of years. Yoga asana refers to connecting specific yoga poses to the breath. Yoga has been shown to help increase body-based awareness and decrease stress and anxiety, which are important factors in the treatment of trauma and other mental health related issues. As you combine movement and breath, you start building back those mind/body connections, which can also help you understand and tolerate the sensations you’re feeling so you no longer feel like a stranger in your own body.