Experiential Therapy
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A healthy lifestyle includes adequate sleep, exercise and nutrition to maintain physical health. Humans also have spiritual and emotional needs that are as important as their physical needs. Just as humans become physically ill without a healthy lifestyle, they will become mentally ill without time to think, create, pray, laugh and express themselves freely.

Mental illness and substance abuse hinder self-expression and interpersonal communication, leading to isolation. Resuming self-expression is critical for emotional well-being, so at Sovereign Health of Rancho San Diego, our experiential therapy activities facilitate the process. We help teens rediscover the joys of self-expression, openly share ideas with others, learn new skills and have fun at the same time.

What is Experiential Therapy?

Experiential therapy is a method of psychotherapy using different types of therapeutic experiences rather than simply the spoken word. According to the American Society of Experiential Therapists, this form of therapy brings forth unconscious feelings that provide the patient and therapist unique insight into underlying thoughts and perceptions. This material can then be worked through in order to heal hidden wounds. Experiential therapy is, therefore, a treatment of choice in behavioral health centers and hospitals across the United States.

At Sovereign Health, we have designed our experiential therapy activities to facilitate communication, cognitive development and balanced lifestyle habits. Each activity is facilitated and supervised by specialized therapists, such as equine therapists, art therapists, music therapists and so forth.

Equine Therapy

During equine-assisted psychotherapy, teens learn how to safely communicate with horses and build relationships with them using nonverbal communication. Teens learn social skills such as respect, empathy, cooperation and boundary-setting while interacting with these majestic animals.

Evidence shows that working with horses causes the brain to produce stress-relieving hormones. These hormones decrease anxiety and stimulate the reward center of the brain, lifting depression symptoms. Teens enjoy working with horses as part of their experiential therapy exercises at Sovereign Health.

Recreational Therapy

A balanced lifestyle must include time for recreation and relaxation. Many teens in early recovery have not had a balanced lifestyle for some time and may have forgotten about things they used to enjoy. During treatment, teens develop healthy lifestyle habits and reintegrate their personal interests into their daily routines. At Sovereign Health, our experiential therapy techniques include activities designed to help teens rekindle their spirit and enjoy life again.

Our therapists listen to patients’ ideas and tailor recreational activities specifically for them, including age-appropriate games, sports, learning experiences and outings. Participating in healthy activities causes many positive changes and promotes well-being. While everyone recovers at his or her own pace, we know that remembering how to have fun is an excellent place to start.

Expressive Arts Therapy

Expressive arts therapy integrates mind and body to enhance insight and expression. Some examples of the expressive arts include music, visual arts, movement, poetry, drama and writing. Expressive arts allow teens to express their thoughts and feelings nonverbally in a way that is unique to them.

Our expressive arts therapists encourage teens to utilize their peer group to help process their self-expression. Sharing their work with others, and giving and receiving feedback improve interpersonal skills. Group projects provide an opportunity for teamwork. Therapists help teens to develop these skills and apply them to other situations and settings.

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Yoga

In the Western world, yoga is a form of relaxation and exercise that improves muscle tone and balance. Basic yoga at Sovereign Health simply consists of breathing, stretching and isometric poses. This form of yoga has been found to be mentally and physically beneficial. For patients who do not wish to participate in yoga, plenty of other opportunities for exercise are available.

Other Experiential Elements

Patients are encouraged to share their own unique interests and talents with one another at Sovereign Health during experiential therapy. Previous patients have inspired each other with their music, writing, comedy, artwork, dance, fashion design and other gifts. Sometimes just socializing together or dinner and a movie off-site are therapeutic. Faith-based outings to attend religious services can also be arranged. All of these types of experiences can produce neurochemicals that stimulate positive emotions, which in turn promote brain wellness.

Sovereign Health of Rancho San Diego

Sovereign Health’s adolescent programs are accredited by The Joint Commission and offer exclusive mental health, substance abuse and dual diagnosis treatment programs. We provide comprehensive assessment and treatment of adolescent behavioral disorders and underlying conditions using evidence-based practices. Our beautiful campus in Rancho San Diego was designed just for teens and is safe, secure and supervised around the clock. To learn more about experiential therapy or any of our specialized treatment programs, please visit our website or call our 24/7 helpline.

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How can we help your teen succeed?

Sovereign Health offers comprehensive and high-quality treatment programming for substance abuse and mental health. Call our 24/7 helpline at any time to reach our admissions team.

What Are Our Past Patients Saying?

"There was more than just therapy. There were life skills that were taught and everyone here cared genuinely." - Jack