At Paradigm Treatment Centers, we’re dedicated to creating teen treatment plans that draw from the best combination of traditional and alternative therapy modalities, in order to create the most precise and individualized treatment plans possible. To this end, one of the treatment categories we offer is Teen Experiential Therapy, which incorporates therapeutic actions, activities, and movements, as opposed to more talk-based therapeutic approaches. Some of the Experiential Therapy programs we provide at Paradigm Treatment Centers include: Teen Equine Therapy, Teen Art Therapy, Teen Music Therapy, Teen Recreation Therapy, and Teen Drama Therapy.
Teen Experiential Therapy has a number of wonderful benefits, including helping teens to organically engage in treatment; helping teens to gain useful insights into themselves; helping to soften teens’ resistance toward themselves and treatment; and providing teens with healthy and enjoyable activities which reduce stress and improve quality of life. We find that our Teen Experiential Therapy programs are both effective and enjoyable for all teens, but particularly for those who are treatment resistant and/or those who struggle with social relationships and settings. One of the ways this occurs is during Experiential Therapy sessions, therapists lead teens through the given activity, such as grooming a horse or painting a picture, and the action in itself tends to alleviate any tendencies toward defensiveness or fear, especially around outcomes or being judged. This allows for teens to be fully present and to observe themselves in this state, which can provide powerful insights into themselves that will often be instrumental in their ongoing development and growth, both while in treatment and beyond.
At the same time, these Experiential Therapies also provide opportunity for therapists to gain valuable insights into teens, as they observe how the teens behave, in the given activity or setting. In this way, our Experiential Therapy programs provide an excellent supplement to the more talk-based therapy sessions teens have, including their daily individual therapy sessions with their lead therapists. We often find that by providing teens with a number of different therapeutic opportunities, teens are able to stay more consistently engaged, which contributes to each day being therapeutically valuable. In this sense we believe that the experiential therapies and talk-based therapy sessions work to actually make each other more meaningful.
Lastly, it’s worth noting that one of the great benefits of the Experiential Therapy programs we offer is simply the enjoyment they provide to teens. One of the foundational ideas of our treatment approach and design is to given attention and time to the positive aspects of teens’ lives – such as their interests and skills- as well as the current struggles. In this sense, we intentionally include positive, healthy, nurturing experiences into teens’ treatment experience, which will help provide them with a healthy escape, a good laugh, a happy afternoon, or a calm hour. In getting to spend time experiencing new things or being creative or being outside, it’s our hope that teens simply enjoy their time, and feel encouraged and renewed.