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Experiential Therapy Use in Treating Drug Addiction

Experiential therapy is a type of therapy that incorporates role playing, sports, hobbies, guided imagery, animal care, and other activities to help patients overcome their psychological burdens. Due to its success in engaging the emotions of a patient, this type of therapy can be an excellent solution for treating substance abuse.

What Is The History of Experiential Therapy?

The history of experiential therapy begins in the 70’s and has its foundation in the philosophy of existentialism. It is also known as existential therapy. Its precursors, Sartre, Kierkegaard, Heidegger, and all the other existential philosophers, laid the ground for a new type of therapy that goes beyond the physical effects of drug abuse. Its main purpose is to explore deep emotions and subconscious thoughts through role-playing, guided imagery, and other activities that involve movement or props. Therapists use these techniques to help patients relive and recreate past events and find the triggers that led to addiction in the first place.

Who Is a Good Fit for Experiential Therapy?

Experiential therapy is especially useful for patients who wish to participate in an engaging type of therapy or who don’t see the results they expected from regular conversations with their therapists.

The active characteristic of this treatment makes the sessions dynamic and energetic. It allows the patients to explore the space they are in, while also approaching the causes of their addiction. Experiential therapy can tackle substance abuse issues and has proven to be an effective and permanent solution. It is also designed to touch on adjacent issues, such as depression and family issues that can lead to addiction.

How Accepted Is It in the Treatment Community?Experiential Therapy Use in Treating Drug Addiction

Because experiential therapy can be quite a vague term that can include many types of activities, it is sometimes met with skepticism in the treatment community. Other types of psychotherapy are more precisely defined and are considered, from a theoretical point of view, more accepted approaches. But this does not make experiential therapy an unreliable path in addiction recovery.

One proof that experiential therapy is starting to be more and more accepted by practitioners is the inclusion of experiential elements in other types of psychotherapy. These elements can bring more value to the entire experience by allowing patients to explore events more deeply and meaningfully than during regular sessions.

How Successful Are the Outcomes?

It is essential that people who suffer from drug addiction receive adequate help. Studies show that the number of deaths from opioids addiction, for example, is constantly increasing. In 2015, there have been over 50,000 deaths, a number which increased in 2016 to 60,000 deaths. Unless people receive the help they need, these numbers will continue to grow. One method that has proven to be effective is experiential treatment.

Experiential therapy is a dynamic approach to psychological issues and can be successfully used in treating addiction too. It incorporates diverse activities such as role play, animal care, arts, and other hobbies to help the patients deal with their emotions and learn how to manage them. And, that can make the difference between relapse and long-term recovery.

Living Life Without Drugs or Alcohol is Challenging

This might first sound like a ‘duh’ statement, but the facts speak for themselves: men need to feel challenged and find a purpose and meaning for their lives beyond looking for where they can get their next high. Windward Way uses addiction treatment therapy within our treatment program to enact positive (and sustainable) changes in our clients’ lives—we do this through . . . fun experiences and providing quality clinical services.

At Windward Way, we use outdoor activities such as ropes courses, hiking, kayaking —you name it. Our adventure program excursions are especially popular with the guys because let’s face it: our location in southern California has a corner on the market when it comes to fun and challenging outdoor activities.

This much is clear—to get at something as deeply rooted as addiction, men need a substance abuse treatment plan that uses a whole collection of addiction treatment modalities. Both our drug rehab and our alcohol addiction treatment programs offer just the enjoyable and engaging experiences men are after. Don’t wait—call now to see just how incredibly exciting your new life experience in recovery can be with Windward Way: 855-491-7694.


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