Developed in the 1970s, experiential therapy encourages patients to “identify and address hidden or subconscious issues” through activity. This form of therapy has been used to help treat those with trauma, eating disorders, behavior disorders, substance abuse, and more. Experiential therapy can serve as a great complementary therapy to any treatment program because it allows people to engage with life. For example, some common activities as part of experiential therapy are:
- Horseback riding
- Ice skating
- Going to the movies
You may be thinking to yourself, “These are typical activities that anyone else would do – how is this going to promote my recovery?” These activities will be beneficial to you because they get you connected with something outside of yourself. Addiction oftentimes causes people to focus more inward – on their own needs, wants, desires, problems, etc. Experiential therapy pushes those boundaries and extends them to include other people and places while experiencing new things.
A 2016 study published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence emphasized the fact that exercise can have positive effects on many symptoms associated with addiction such as depression, anxiety, impulsivity, and stress. Research has also shown that engaging in activities can increase a person’s self-efficacy, also known as one’s confidence level in their abilities to succeed in recovery. A common basis of experiential therapy is that one’s perception influences their behavior; when you’re experience the fun, positive, and welcoming aspects that life has to offer, you’re more likely to open up yourself to happiness, joy, and the present moment.
In addition to pushing some of your boundaries, experiential therapy can allow you to connect with your peers in a fun way. By interacting with others, you increase your chances of enhancing your support network – something research has proven to have a major influence on both success in recovery and in relapse prevention. Speak with someone from a reputable treatment center today to learn more about activities you can partake in.
Simple Recovery is a world-renowned, California state-licensed substance abuse recovery center. We offer dual diagnosis treatment, so if you are experiencing both substance abuse and symptoms of a mental disorder, call us today at 888-743-0490 so that we can work with you to restore your happiness, health, and well-being. You do not have to continue living this way; there are many people here ready to help you.