Talk therapy plays a vital role and gets a lot of attention to addiction recovery because of its role in the treatment process. It helps an individual to understand better and discover that feeling and emotions that are created during drug abuse or alcohol. Experiential therapy part of an addiction treatment therapy uses a hands-on approach to help an individual to channelize his feelings. This therapy is one of the therapeutic techniques in which powerful tools and activities are used like role-playing or acting, arts and crafts, music, animal care, guided imagery, props, and various forms of recreation to re-experience emotional situations derived from relationships.
An individual begins to identify the emotions attached to success, disappointment, self-esteem, and responsibility. This therapy was developed in the 1970s; this approach encourages an addict to identify and address mental or hidden issues.
When Experiential Therapies Are Used
This therapy is used in the treatment of numerous psychological disorders that could include trauma and stress-related disorders, eating disorders, anxiety disorders, compulsive disorders, and substance abuse or compulsive gambling. It helps an individual by motivating to achieve his goals. It is also recommended for those who wish to be free of unhappy, painful, and wants to get rid of the bad feelings from past experiences, to help them to change the nature of the current or future relationship, and help them to live up to their potential.
What to Expect in This Therapy
Some individuals could be uncomfortable in talking or consulting to the therapists in a traditional counseling setting. This experiential therapy helps the recovering addicts to experience an environment where they feel comfortable, such as outdoor activities or in an art or music studio.
Some of the standard experiential therapies include:
• Rock climbing
• Music therapy
• Wilderness therapy
• Adventure therapy
• Music therapy
• Recreation therapy
Experiential therapy is designed in such a manner to help those in recovering by developing a stronger sense of self by overcoming the buried emotions and past traumas. This also helps an individual to learn how to face a challenge without turning to drugs.
Therapies and Techniques Used in Experiential Therapy
Experiential therapy session includes therapists to guide an addict in recovering through several treatment exercises and to their specific treatment needs.
All the outside environment physical activities like rock climbing and hiking help to remove or simulate real-world stress to recover from addiction. It helps to guide an addict on how to cope with everyday stressors like substance abuse and craving triggers.
This therapy is proven very useful in many disorders that co-occur with addiction and substance abuse. If all these disorders are treated alongside addiction, then it helps to decrease mental health-related stress and also reduce the likelihood of relapse.
Some of the co-occurring mental disorders experiential therapy includes:
• Anxiety and depression
• Obsessive-compulsive disorders
• Post-traumatic stress disorders
• Eating disorders
Some of the standard techniques used in treatment include:
• Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing- EMDR therapy visualizes a traumatic event of a patient when an addict is lead by a therapist through specific eye movements.
• Equine Assisted psychotherapy- EAP includes the use of horses in these recovery exercises. The patients do not ride horses, but they help by grooming, feeding, harnessing, and walking throughout the session.
• Art Therapy- This helps an addict to express himself through the use of art and music. Creation of the technique helps a patient to go through distressful and negative thoughts and process in a very healthy manner.
• Adventure Therapy- Some of the outdoor activities like hiking, camping, biking, rock climbing, and water rafting helps to recover addicts to develop their communication skills, personal responsibilities, and problem-solving skills while working in a group.
Experiential Therapy Combination with Other Treatment
Many drug withdrawal symptoms are uncomfortable or even dangerous, so it is essential to begin any treatment with the consultation of the medical experts. Inpatient and outpatient therapies help control withdrawal symptoms during detox. After that, other medicines may be used in combination with experiential therapies to help treat properly in recovery.
Some of the psychotherapy techniques like motivational enhancement and cognitive behavioral therapy pair well with the experiential therapy to focus on destructive behaviors. It is advisable to consult any drug rehab center specialized in experiential therapies. Treatment centers are available across the country; those have medical and therapeutic resources to help an individual to overcome drug addiction.