Experiential Therapy To Treat Addiction

Experiential Therapy

Overcoming addiction to alcohol or drugs usually involves a combination of treatment modalities.  Depending on the severity of the addiction, as well as wants and needs, treatment may include a treatment center, individual counseling, medically assisted treatment, outpatient therapy, 12-Step support groups, and more.

In addition to the more traditional addiction treatment like you find in rehabs and treatment centers, there are alternative therapies that are helping individuals recover too. Experiential therapy is one type of therapy that has a solid track record for helping patients face, feel, and heal deep rooted traumas that may be holding them back.

This type of therapy was developed back in the 70’s to give clients a chance to do more than simply talk in therapy. According to Psychology Today, experiential therapy is a “therapeutic technique that uses expressive tools and activities, such as role-playing or acting, props, arts and crafts, music, animal care, guided imagery, or various forms of recreation to re-enact and re-experience emotional situations from past and recent relationships.”

As you can see, it’s not just one particular therapy. Rather, it’s a category of experiences that help a person start to recognize various emotions that they’ve associated with sadness, disappointment, success, self-worth, and so on.

Types of Experiential Therapy

There are various types of experiential therapy programs that can help one on their path toward recovery from addiction.  Here are some examples of experiential therapy:

Adventure Therapy – Include adventures like ziplining, wilderness experiences, mountain climbing, rope courses, and more.

Drama therapy or psychodrama – Using drama to help one learn to express oneself or interact with peers.  For example, a patient can take something that happened to them in their life and turn it into a play. When acted out, the individual can act out the memory in real-time, but in a safe space. If negative emotions arise, they understand that they can act them out and perhaps feel some relief and heal triggers. The facilitator can offer feedback and even redirect the play toward more effective outcomes if necessary.

Animal Assisted Therapy – Animals like horses, dogs, or cats are used to help individuals learn compassion, responsibility, and companionship. This type of therapy is really wonderful for those who have a tough time relating to others.  It softens them up some and lets them trust more.

Art Therapy – Common approaches include painting, sculpting, and woodworking

Music Therapy – Playing instruments, singing, etc.

Poetry Therapy – Using poetry to help express oneself and use creativity.

Yoga – Practicing yoga to strengthen the mind and body.

Volunteer Work – Volunteering in the community can help individuals feel more fulfilled and offer care and compassion to those in need.

Experiential Therapy Benefits For Addiction Treatment

When one engages in an experiential therapy program, they tend to be less guarded and more open then if they were doing traditional talk therapy. For example, taking on the responsibility of caring for a pet, such as a dog, can help one get more in touch with their feelings or soft side – and be alright with this.

It’s not uncommon for those struggling with addiction to have erected a wall around their heart and be guarded.  However, caring for a pet consistently has been known to help dissolve that wall and give them more of a sense of purpose and meaning. This is beneficial because they’re more apt to experience personal and emotional growth as a byproduct of the therapy.

Other benefits of experiential therapy include:

  • Safe exploration of feelings/emotions
  • Decreasing the intensity or healing emotional triggers
  • Process negative emotions
  • Get in touch with your creative side
  • Help boost levels of good, clean fun
  • Learn new skills or hobbies


Experiential therapy interventions are quite beneficial as an add-on to traditional addiction recovery treatment. They offer a broad range of interventions that men and women tend to enjoy and get a lot out of recovery-wise.  Treatment centers that offer experiential therapies tend to pull more interest from those interested in getting free from addiction. The wide variety of treatment modalities helps them feel like they have more choices and freedom than simply talk therapy or support groups.

If you’re struggling with an addiction and are ready to take your next step toward recovery, know that there are professionals who are more than willing to assist you in getting free.  Addition treatment is effective and can help you experience a better life. Reach out for help today.

  1. Since experience is the best teacher. It is good to use experience to treat addiction. Thanks for sharing.

  2. This is the very first time I hear of such a term for these normal everyday stuff. Well if it helps why not? However I would like to add Science with this too? Honestly this method comes off more as spiritual??? Nothing weong with it but we need tangible solutions as well.

  3. This blog was quite helpful and informative, the steps in using experimental therapy to treat addiction is the way forward. Detox to rehab thank you for sharing this blog and for helping people live a better life.

  4. The learning of a new skill is the best amongst the the benefits. This is because it will make one to be occupied.

  5. This is one of the reliable ways of helping people with addiction. It allows interaction through which they will be known.

  6. This is a great therapy. What a great innovation. Most people will be able to recover from drug addict through this therapy

  7. To use any of these therapy, it is important to the therapist to study his or her patient to know the appropriate one to use. Thanks for this article.

  8. Experimental therapy is a great form of therapy that helps all kinds of addictive patients. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Some of therapy listed here will help addicts with speedy recovery. The adventure therapy will help the addict find solace while searching for recovery.

  10. Experiential therapy seems to be the real deal because of the broad units it possesses to solve addiction problems . It’s multifaceted and has proven to work well. Thanks for this update.

  11. Great to know that experiential therapy can be very useful when it comes to addiction. I’m all for what will help addiction.

  12. These therapy will be very useful and beneficial to addicts. It will help in improving their lives towards finding recovery from addiction.

  13. You can not give what you don’t have. It is always good to be loaded with such great ideas to help people to recover from any form of addiction. Thanks for sharing this.

  14. This article is an educative one on the benefits associated with experiential therapy. Most addicts needs such therapy for them to get their lives back on track after experiencing challenges from addiction.

  15. The need for experiential therapy is really important as it comes with own benefits. i like that it helps the addicts to bring out their creative side.

  16. In fact, experimental therapy is very effective in the treatment of drug addiction. Its benefits are dependable and laudable.

  17. Experimental therapy is quite advantageous and beneficial. However, drug addicts are encouraged to embrace this opportunity with a view to eradicating addiction.

  18. Treatment centers that offer experiential therapies tend to pull more interest from those interested in getting free from addiction. The wide variety of treatment modalities helps them feel like they have more choices and freedom than simply talk therapy or support groups.

  19. As you can see, it’s not just one particular therapy. Rather, it’s a category of experiences that help a person start to recognize various emotions that they’ve associated with sadness, disappointment, success, self-worth, and so on.

  20. Addiction isn’t what any medical practitioner can dabble into without the necessary examination. Therapy is one of those.

  21. This is a real article that seeks the ways out for the addicted people. Thank you so much for these information.

  22. Experiential therapy will help the medical personnel in diagnosing the patients. Thanks for this piece of information

  23. I really enjoy reading about experiential therapy. Never knew about it but i agree its the best kind of therapy as it help one direct and focus on something creative.

  24. This will encourage intimacy between the patient and the medical practitioner. Thank God for this new development.

  25. Experiential therapy helps to inquire about the patient. It is a good procedure. Thanks to Detox To Rehab.

  26. A well detailed article, it is quite informative and educative. I never had any idea about treating addiction this way.

  27. I had always thought formal medical therapy was all there was to helping drug addicts recover and lead normal lives. This article has open me up to the vast potential and benefits of experiential therapy.

  28. Amazing content… I believe this band of knowledge is important for those who are in need of help but do not know how to go about it.

  29. Love the whole idea of experimental therapy. Especially the point on volunteer work, helping others to benefit both you and them.

  30. Since this experiential therapy is so effective, then I believe all rehabilitation centres should adopt this style of treatment to aid recovery.

  31. When therapy sometimes does not work, therapists sometimes experiments and tries to mix different kinds of therapy to check if some of them works.

  32. This is a very informative. It is also good to know that this form of therapy can be included with the regular therapy to aid in the recovery process of addicts.

  33. It is very important for us to have an experienced doctor for the treatment of addiction. Thanks for sharing this blog.

  34. Treatment of addiction has taken a whole new shape and new methods. Addicts should find any that interest them, especially this new experiential therapy that has a ranging benefit.

  35. This is really great for people who do have concerns/anxieties when trying to talk to people about their addiction problems. Humans do express themselves in several ways, and whatever way they feel most comfortable doing will make the intervention and rehabilitation smoother and really help with their addiction problems.

  36. I give kudos to detox to rehab for sharing this beautiful piece on how to overcome addiction. You are doing well.

  37. This is very informative and well detailed . Many people will find solution to their problems

  38. I like the way you’re very passionate about seeing addicted people to get through from there addiction. It’s very fascinating

  39. Thank you Detax to rehab for sharing these type of stories with all of us.These stories are really very much inspirational for many people.

  40. This is something new to me. Experiential Therapy is a new way to help people to cope and to heal. I believe in this kind of healing process.

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