Explore Healing: Experiential Therapy Activities for Recovery

Read on to learn about experiential therapy activities. They promote emotional insight and healthier ways to cope with recovery and healing.

Introduction to Experiential Therapy Activities

Experiential therapy activities are a unique approach to healing. During these activities, patients may role-play, use props, or follow guided images. The goal is to understand and work through feelings tied to past experiences.

This approach is particularly beneficial for recovery from mental health or substance use disorders. It supports emotional understanding, self-awareness, and overall healing.

How Experiential Therapy Helps

While regular psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, helps many people, utilizing experiential therapy activities can improve the healing experience.

These activities offer a new path to recovery. They help people connect to their emotions, boost confidence, and learn new ways to manage their mental health.1

Understanding Experiential Therapy

Experiential therapy is a type of therapy that uses activities to help patients deal with hidden or unknown issues. The idea is that how individuals see things shapes how they act. Changing how they see things can change how they may react to the world and people around them.2
Experiential therapy is more than just talking. It uses actions, movements, and activities. These let patients dive deep into their experiences. This process gives a safe place for people to let out stored emotions, untangle hard feelings, and face unresolved issues.

What Is Experiential Therapy?

Experiential therapy is about the experience. It helps patients express and understand feelings they may not be comfortable sharing in a usual therapy setting. It opens new ways for self-expression and understanding oneself. This makes it a strong tool for recovery.
During experiential therapy activities, a guide helps the individual through various activities. These activities work like a mirror, reflecting the person’s actions, feelings, and thoughts. By looking at these reflections, people can get to know their feelings more and learn better ways to manage them.3

Experiential Therapy Activities for Healing

There are many kinds of activities in experiential therapy. These activities often include creative therapies, adventure therapies, and other experiences. The activity chosen depends on what the individual’s symptoms and needs are. It also depends on the goals of their healing journey.

These activities provide a direct approach to therapy. They let people get involved physically, emotionally, and mentally. These activities help test current beliefs and build better ways to cope.

Creating a Positive Home Environment

Experiential therapy has many activities. Each one is designed to engage people in different ways. Here are some examples:
  • Role-playing: Here, people explore different roles and situations. This helps them show and understand their feelings.
  • Drama: During drama therapy, people use acting to explore personal issues and feelings.
  • Art therapy: This involves doing creative activities, such as painting or drawing. It helps people express and understand feelings.
  • Adventure activities: These are activities like hiking and camping. They help people discover and work through their needs
  • Animal-assisted therapy: In this therapy, people interact with animals. This can help build confidence, improve communication skills, and understand emotions.
  • Guided imagery techniques: These techniques guide people through visual scenes. They help people explore their feelings and experiences in a safe environment.
  • Games: These may include activities like board games, team games, card games, and bowling. They can help improve social skills, strategic thinking, and managing emotions.
These activities help with mental health treatment by working alongside psychotherapy.

A Closer Look at Experiential Therapy Activities

As mentioned, experiential therapy includes many hands-on therapy activities. Each one offers a special way to explore feelings that lets people interact with their feelings in different ways.
Here is a closer look at common experiential therapy activities and how they can help during the healing process:


Role-playing is a strong tool in experiential therapy. It lets people take on different roles and situations. When people see things from another’s point of view, they can better understand their problems.
It can also help people practice and learn better ways to interact with others. It is helpful for those who have trouble talking with others or need assistance working through conflicts.4

Art Therapy

Art therapy uses the process of making art to express and understand feelings. Painting, sculpting, or drawing can be a way for people to show feelings they find hard to express. Art therapy can help people look into their inner experiences and heal emotional wounds.5

Adventure Activities

Adventure activities like hiking, camping, and rock climbing mix physical and emotional challenges. They can help people learn to rely on themselves, become resilient, and work in a team.
These activities are helpful for people with low self-esteem or social problems. Spending time in nature can also help people relax and be mindful. Mile High Recovery Center has holistic adventure and outdoor therapies available.6

Animal-Assisted Therapy

Animal-assisted therapy uses animals to improve mental health. Animals like horses and dogs can give unconditional love and friendship. 

This can help people who are dealing with emotional pain. This therapy can also boost confidence, improve social skills, and help people feel calm.7

Guided Imagery Techniques

Guided imagery techniques use visualizations to explore feelings and experiences. The therapist guides the person through different images or situations, often with relaxation techniques. This therapy can help people face fears, reduce stress, and understand themselves better.8

Board Games

Board games are a fun way to improve thinking skills, communication, and teamwork. Playing board games lets people interact with others in a relaxed setting. This helps people connect socially. The strategy in many board games can also improve problem-solving and decision-making.

Card Games

Card games are also a powerful tool in experiential therapy. They promote strategic thinking, patience, and people skills. Playing card games require concentration, memory, and prediction. In therapy, these games can improve mental agility and coping skills.
This is particularly helpful in managing frustration and handling loss. Card games also offer a chance for social interaction. This helps promote communication skills and social confidence.


Billiards can offer many therapeutic benefits. It requires focus, accuracy, and strategic thinking. This is great for enhancing thinking skills. Billiards is also a social game that encourages interaction and cooperation with others.
This can improve social skills and build a sense of connection and community. The game can also promote patience and stress management. This helps people stay calm and focused no matter the outcome of the game.


Bowling is a physical activity that combines coordination, strategy, and teamwork. It allows people to improve their physical health and social and cognitive skills.
Bowling requires players to focus on their movements and strategies. This promotes concentration and decision-making skills. Bowling is also a social activity that encourages interaction and cooperation with others. This works to improve communication skills and social confidence.

The Healing Power of Experiential Therapy Activities

Each experiential therapy activity is a powerful tool for healing. These activities give people a special platform to explore and handle their feelings. This allows for a deeper understanding of oneself and more effective problem-solving.9
By participating in these activities, people can uncover hidden or subconscious issues, express difficult emotions, and face unresolved conflicts. The hands-on nature of these activities lets people actively engage with their feelings. This makes the therapeutic experience more immersive and impactful.

Are Experiential Therapy Activities Utilized Alongside Other Treatment Options?

Experiential therapy activities are often utilized alongside other evidence-based treatment options during addiction recovery. Experiential therapy is not meant to replace evidence-based treatments, but rather to complement and enhance them.

It is typically integrated into a comprehensive and holistic treatment plan. This works in conjunction with other evidence-based therapies to provide a more well-rounded approach to addiction recovery.

Evidence-based treatment options commonly used in addiction recovery include:

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a widely recognized and effective therapy for addiction recovery. It helps individuals identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to addiction. This promotes healthier coping strategies and long-term recovery.

Motivational Interviewing (MI)

MI is a client-centered approach that helps individuals explore and strengthen their motivation to change addictive behaviors. It is particularly useful in helping individuals overcome ambivalence and enhance their commitment to recovery.

Group Therapy

Group therapy provides a supportive environment where individuals in recovery can share their experiences, learn from others, and receive peer support. It helps foster a sense of community and reduces feelings of isolation.

Individual Counseling

One-on-one counseling allows for personalized attention and tailored interventions to address specific challenges and underlying issues contributing to addiction.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

For certain substance use disorders, medication, when used in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, can be an effective approach to manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings.

Family Therapy

Family therapy involves the participation of family members in the treatment process. It helps address family dynamics and relationships that may impact addiction and recovery, promoting a supportive and healthy home environment.

12-Step Programs

Programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) are based on a 12-step framework that encourages individuals to work through a series of principles to achieve and maintain sobriety. These programs often provide a strong support network.

Benefits of a Comprehensive, Personalized Treatment Approach

By integrating these various therapeutic modalities, treatment providers can address the diverse needs and preferences of individuals in recovery. This increases the effectiveness and potential for sustained sobriety and overall healing.

Tailoring Activities to Individual Needs and Recovery Goals at Mile High Recovery Center

At Mile High Recovery Center, we know that everyone is different, and their needs and goals for recovery are too. Because of this, we make sure our experiential therapy activities are personalized for each person and their symptoms.
When choosing the right activities, we consider the person’s interests, physical abilities, and readiness to confront their feelings. This personal touch ensures that each person gets the most helpful therapy experience.

Making Experiential Therapy Personal

To make experiential therapy individualized, we must first fully understand the person’s needs and goals. This means we need to know their feelings, physical abilities, past experiences, and what they want to get out of therapy.
After this assessment, our therapists then choose the right experiential therapy activities. These activities engage the person on many levels, providing a healing and enriching therapy experience.

Matching Activities with Goals for Recovery

The main goal of experiential therapy is to help aid and supplement the person’s recovery. Therefore, the activities we choose are based on their recovery goals. For example, if a person has problems with self-esteem, we might include activities that boost confidence and promote self-acceptance.

By matching the activities with recovery goals, experiential therapy helps people make real progress toward their healing. It gives them the tools and insights they need to overcome their challenges and move towards a healthier and more fulfilling life.

Keeping Experiential Therapy Safe and Supportive

Experiential therapy is powerful, but it’s important to handle it with care. At Mile High Recovery Center, we have strict rules to ensure our experiential therapy activities are safe and helpful.
We know that these activities can stir up strong feelings. Some of these feelings might be hard to handle. That’s why our therapists always provide emotional support and guidance. They make sure each person feels safe and supported during their therapy.

Safety First in Experiential Therapy

Safety is our number one priority in experiential therapy. We plan and watch over all activities carefully to keep people physically safe. Our therapists also provide emotional safety by creating a supportive and non-judgmental environment.
Emotional safety is vital in experiential therapy. It lets people explore their feelings without fear of judgment or criticism. This creates a safe base for people to work towards recovery goals.

Embark on Your Healing Journey Today

Experiential therapy activities can open new doors in your path to recovery. Are you ready to explore a unique, interactive way of healing? Do you believe that experiential therapy, such as equine therapy or adventure therapy, might benefit you during recovery? We’re here with the support you need.

At Mile High Recovery Center, we’re prepared to guide you every step of the way. Start your journey with us today. For more information or to schedule a consultation about our experiential therapy activities, please contact us. Your healing journey begins here.

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