Tag Archives: labyrinths

Tag Archives: labyrinths


What is Experiential Therapy?

Rooted in Rogerian empathy (“person-centered” psychotherapy), this therapeutic technique utilizes tools and activities to allow participants to re-experience and re-enact emotional situations. Experiential therapy is different from traditional talk therapy in that it involves the exploration of complex feelings through external media, not necessarily direct conversation. This method can be especially effective for those who have blocked past feelings and traumas, making them difficult to speak about. It can be thought of as a “hands-on” approach to treatment for addiction.

When is It Used?

Experiential therapy is considered especially effective in the treatment of complex issues like substance use disorders, trauma, eating disorders, anger management, grief and compulsive behaviors like gambling. It is also helpful for those who wish to work through past issues and experience, breaking free of the burden from the past. By addressing pivotal issues in past relationships, individuals are better equipped to move forward with healthy coping mechanisms and attitudes.

The best candidates for experiential therapy are those who have a difficult time expressing themselves verbally. These can be individuals who become upset or agitated by the events in their past, or those who have been abused. They may also include people who are generally unwilling to open up about private issues. Those who are passionate about music or art may find it easier to put their feelings into that format, rather than saying them out loud.

Why Does It Work for Addiction?

As written in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, the core conceit of the Twelve Steps is to create a “psychic change” – a complete shift in one’s perspective. Generally, this is best achieved through experience, not through a lecture or neatly packaged information session. When people are focused on an activity, rather than the idea of therapeutic participation, they let down their guard. This permits them to react authentically to prompts and reflect more clearly on their concerns.

Many individuals intellectualize their addiction; they attempt to gather as much information as possible to equip them for the future. We understand that lasting healing comes not merely from studying the subject matter – recovery is much more complex than that. By accessing deeply rooted, unresolved issues through experiential therapy, people are much more likely to work through these problems and open themselves up to inner peace.

What to Expect in Experiential Therapy

This therapeutic approach is available in individual and clinical settings, including treatment centers like Cumberland Heights, in conjunction with group and individual talk therapy services.

There is no one approach to experiential therapy. Instead, it is a collection of therapeutic approaches. These techniques are all centered around the idea of action and are led by a therapist.

Experiential therapy sessions may include:

  • art therapy
  • props
  • role-playing or acting
  • arts and crafts
  • sand tray therapy
  • music therapy
  • guided imagery
  • labyrinth experiences
  • equine-assisted therapy
  • adventure therapy or recreation

Whether people write songs or paint portraits, they are able to explore their feelings through the creative process. Adventure therapy, on the other hand, keeps individuals physically and mentally engaged with ropes courses and teamwork exercises. Sand tray therapy allows participants to experiment with new solutions through play.

By taking part in experiential therapy, you can expect to be guided through an activity that grants you deeper personal insight. The therapist will help you to take part in the task at hand, while also prompting you to consider specific ideas. They may ask you to focus on your perceptions or awareness, and later will help you to unpack the meaning of your emotions.

Experiential Therapy at Cumberland Heights

Cumberland Heights is proud to offer a wide array of experiential therapy sessions. Our services include adventure-based therapy, art therapy, labyrinth experience, music therapy, sand tray therapy, spiritual care and yoga. We believe in healing the whole person through whichever approaches are most resonant for them. Our individualized therapies are tailored to the needs and personalities of each client. To learn more about experiential therapy at Cumberland Heights, contact us online or call 800-646-9998 today.

 “Everything You Need to Know About the Labyrinth Experience” is locked	 Everything You Need to Know About the Labyrinth ExperienceIf you’ve ever seen the movie The Labyrinth, you’re familiar with the winding, twisting path that a 16-year-old girl must embark on in order to save her baby brother from a wish the Goblin King granted her. While the labyrinth is part of a movie, it’s also part of a spiritual practice – a form of meditation that has been said to help guide people on a journey to the mind, body and spirit. According to the Medical University of South Carolina, meditation labyrinths have been used to encourage healthy communities as people from all walks of life and all cultural backgrounds can benefit from it. Meditation has been around for many, many years and the labyrinth experience is a form of walking meditation.

Labyrinths do not require any specific level of skill, so anyone can complete them. The focus is typically to start through the labyrinth, taking different paths towards the center – meanwhile, focusing on the journey itself and noticing (without judgment) the different thoughts or feelings that arise. The labyrinth experience isn’t designed to frustrate participants or even to serve as a form of challenge that must be accomplished – it’s merely a winding path that represents the greater notion of life and the search for peace, happiness and health.

The University of Oklahoma emphasizes that labyrinths have been implemented in a variety of cultural designs throughout the world – they’ve been implemented in basketry, carved on shrines and inscribed onto ancient Greek currency. If you decide to embark on this beautiful meditative journey, here is what you should remember:

  • Reflect on what you’re grateful for upon entering the labyrinth and upon any questions or problems with which you hope to receive some guidance on.
  • As you walk through the labyrinth, release any negative thoughts, feelings or sensations that are not promoting your peace, happiness and/or health.
  • Be silent, pray and meditate as you slowly encounter each step in the labyrinth. Be open to receiving whatever it is that comes to you during this time.
  • As you find your way through the labyrinth, allow yourself to feel rejuvenated.
  • Reflect on your experience as you exit the labyrinth. Contemplate its resemblance for you and what you’ve taken from the experience.

Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.

Call us today at 1-800-646-9998 to take the next step towards your happiness and health.


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