At Hanley Center, we use activity-based interventions and techniques to improve the mental, physical, and spiritual wellness of our patients. This work, provided by a Certified Recreational Therapist and addiction professional with over three decades of experience, is key in assisting individuals as they develop the knowledge, life-skills, and behaviors that support healthy recovery.
What is experiential therapy?
Experiential therapy is a systematic modality that utilizes recreation, expression, and other activity-based techniques to restore physical and psychological health, well-being, and recovery. This active form of therapy is an effective treatment methodology which can rehabilitate a person’s level of functioning and break down the barriers to sustained recovery.
Through the group adventure experience, patients at Hanley Center are given the opportunity to challenge themselves beyond their own personal physical abilities. This experiential form of therapeutic intervention involves the creation of opportunities with peers to explore the unknown. Under the direction of a highly-trained Wellness Coordinator, our patients can confront their fears and build confidence.
Who can benefit from experiential therapy?
Studies show that experiential therapy provides a variety of positive health outcomes for people of all backgrounds and ages. This includes individuals with physical disabilities, older adults, and people with behavioral or psychiatric disorders, as well those impacted by addiction.
Common disorders and symptoms treated through experiential therapy include:
- Substance use disorders and addiction
- Chronic pain
- Disordered eating
- PTSD and trauma
- Mood disorders, such as bipolar disorder
- Attention deficit disorders
- Personality disorders
Key areas of focus during experiential therapy groups include:
- Stress management
- Development of an active, healthy lifestyle
- Improved body image
- Emotional processing
- Healthy coping strategies
- Reducing isolation
- Positive community interaction
- Increased sense of self-worth and self-esteem
- Building positive relationships
- Deepening the spiritual connection through body-based activity
Our Wellness Coordinator provides a wide array of group activities, including:
- Adventure and outdoor pursuits
- Trust activities
- Guided morning stretch
- Cooperative games
- Beach experiences
- Problem-solving initiatives
Experiential therapies at Hanley Center broaden the array of interventions we offer our patients as they pursue total wellness. Each carefully crafted group is designed to promote teamwork, cooperation, communication skills, trust, and personal growth. With every opportunity, we challenge our patients to safely step outside their comfort zones with support from their peers.
How do experiential therapies differ from more traditional therapies?
Experiential therapy embraces a definition of health which moves beyond the mere absence of “illness,” and extends to encompass all areas of physical, emotional, social, and cognitive development. Our hope is to help each patient find an abundant life of purpose, meaning, and wellness. The unique feature of experiential therapy that makes it different from other forms of therapies is the use of interventions and strategies that get the body involved in the therapeutic process. This means working within the bounds of each patient’s physical abilities and helping them mindfully connect to themselves. An experiential therapist has a unique perspective and can incorporate teamwork into the therapy process in a way that is relevant and meaningful. Our Wellness Coordinator weaves the concept of active, healthy living into our treatment to enhance independence, health, and successful involvement in all aspects of life.
Who provides experiential therapy at Hanley Center?
Our experiential groups and services are provided by a Wellness Coordinator who is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) with over three decades of practice. Requirements to become a CTRS include a degree from an accredited university, as well as a formal clinical internship and a national competency exam. At Hanley Center, our Wellness Coordinator is also a certified addiction professional, with an in-depth knowledge of how to propel those suffering from addiction towards a life of recovery.