What is experiential Group Therapy?
Experiential therapy is different from cognitive (thinking), behavioral (actions) or talk therapy. Experiential therapy creates experiences that facilitate gaining your own insight into issues and problems. Gestalt, Psychodrama, Breathwork, Process Hypnosis, Focusing, Shamanic Journeying, Sculpting, Active Imagination, even Writing and Journaling are a few of the therapies which evoke experiences that provide powerful insights.

Experiential group therapy is similar in approach to Experiential individual work, and with the number of participants and therefore, options for identification, the possibilities for intuitive leaps are exponentially enhanced. These groups encourage clients to identify and address hidden or subconscious issues through activities such as Role Playing, Guided Imagery, Integrative Breathwork, Psychodrama, Gestalt, Expressive Artwork, Meditation, Play Therapy, Dance, Movement, connecting with Nature. All while being in a safe and secured micro-society of like-minded individuals. Experiential work is powerful in facilitating new realizations and insights about present behaviors, communication glitches, unresolved past issues, and especially unexpressed or repressed emotions often buried throughout a lifetime.

The strength of Experiential Therapy lies in creating a corrective emotional experience through feeling and exploring deep emotions, followed by a self-reflective loop — intellectually understanding and interpreting the meaning of the experience. Group members serve both as a support network, and a sounding board. Members often help fellow participants to form specific ideas for improving their life challenges and difficult situations. And then as the group progresses, hold each other accountable for insights gained and contracts made.

Consistently sharing for themselves – and then actively listening as other participants courageously voice their problems – normalizes the feelings of all group members. And puts their issues in perspective. Sometimes becoming aware that they’ve minimized their issues. They are actually struggling with something that is truly hard. And sometimes through others sharing, a group member gains powerful insight into all sides of a conflict they themselves experience with significant relationships. Many people experience emotional difficulties, heartache, guilt, shame, regret. But more times than not, there is no one they feel safe in sharing their deepest emotional issues with, than knowing they won’t be judged by others. Many of us often feel we are the only one struggling. The relief we gain when we hear others’ sharing our same issues is extraordinary. The realization that we are not alone is often a key ingredient in emotional healing.

The experience of diversity is yet another important benefit of group therapy. We all have different personalities and backgrounds – races, religions, politics, nationalities. We are both male and female. We naturally look at situations in different ways. Yet, at core, we are more alike than different. We are all human beings. By observing and hearing how other people tackle problems and make positive changes, group members are exposed to a range of creative strategies for dealing with their own concerns.

What are the Benefits of Experiential Therapy?
As participants progress through structured experiential therapy activities under the guidance of trained and experienced psychotherapists, they have the opportunity to identify obstacles, develop improved self-esteem, accept greater responsibility for their actions. And most of all, to experience successes.

Change, emotional growth, and personal empowerment are among the benefits of participating in an effective experiential therapy process. Because experiential therapy clients are often caught up in an emotionally activated task or activity, they are naturally unguarded, real, and freed to be their authentic and true selves.

These groups will have a limited number of carefully selected participants who share common themes or interests. Both Sandy and I are working on specific themes, times, location and cost.

Some tentative Themes

If you have any ideas or comments about these groups, please do not hesitate to contact us
through our contact information page. We look forward to working with you.