Experiential Therapy

Our Treatment Approach

Experiential therapy is an evidence-based therapeutic approach that uses expression and activity to process and evaluate thoughts, feelings and emotions. Art therapy, movement therapy and yoga therapy have been shown to promote mindfulness, increase emotional regulation, alleviate anxiety and improve mood.
At Pathlight, we believe personal expression in all forms can provide meaningful healing for individuals struggling with anxiety and depression. Alone, the therapeutic benefits of art, movement and yoga may be insufficient to address the biological, psychological and social complexities of mood and anxiety disorders. However, when used together with Pathlight’s comprehensive psychiatric, medical and therapeutic treatment, experiential therapies can be a powerful recovery tool.

Experiential therapy for trauma

Experiential therapy can be particularly effective in patients in therapy for trauma, for whom thoughts, feelings and emotions may be too painful for words. Art, movement and yoga offer a less threatening means for exploring traumatic experiences.
In art therapy, for example, the borders of a sheet of paper offer symbolic containment of traumatic feelings. Movement and yoga therapies can also provide healing experiences through opportunities to restore the brain/body connection often lost in physical and sexual trauma and relearn how to safely inhabit one’s body once more.
Pathlight’s experiential therapies are guided by compassionate, highly trained experiential therapists. Available therapies include:

  • Art therapy:  Using drawing, painting, collaging, sculpting and other creative mediums, art therapy helps people see things from a new perspective. Art allows us to tap into a different part of the brain, exploring and expressing thoughts, feelings, beliefs and experiences beyond words. Therapeutic art can also provide another perspective for responding to a stressor with creativity, awareness and compassion.
  • Movement therapy: Dance and other purposeful, expressive movements offer an outlet for creativity as well as a means of accessing a peaceful state of mind. Movement therapy gently guides individuals through structured and improvisational movements and toward the goal of body awareness and connection.
  • Yoga therapy. A slow, low-impact routine encourages patients to focus on breath, body, position and mind, fostering connection to physiological response and working with the body to reduce the overwhelming stress and anxiety sensations. At the end of three months, women in Pathlight’s yoga therapy group reported improvements in perceived stress, depression, anxiety, energy, fatigue and well-being; depression scores decreased by 50 percent, anxiety scores by 30 percent and overall well-being scores improved by 65 percent.

Therapeutic benefits of experiential therapies continue as patients return to their lives following treatment at Pathlight. Art, movement and yoga can help patients practice mindfulness, articulate feelings and view challenges and goals from a different perspective throughout the recovery journey.