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Expressive and Experiential Therapies

Talk therapy is one of the most common treatments for people dealing with mental health disorders and eating disorders and it’s highly effective, but it’s not the only option. More and more treatment centers recognize the value of other forms of therapy, including more holistic therapies like experiential and expressive therapies to help individuals who are struggling.

Experiential and expressive therapies include various therapeutic techniques rather than a type of psychotherapy. Individuals participate in activities that help them gain the skills they need to solve problems and learn new behaviors. Experiential and expressive therapies are typically part of a comprehensive therapeutic approach that includes talk therapy, mindfulness therapy, and others.

Experiential and expressive therapies can be very beneficial for individuals who have a difficult time with talk therapy. Some people have trouble verbalizing problematic issues because they’re so traumatized by them. Others become so agitated or angry when thinking about the problem that sessions can’t continue. It’s vital that these individuals have other safe ways to express their feelings when talking is too overwhelming.

Evidence-Based Treatment at Shoreline

How They Help

It’s not uncommon for people with various mental health issues to have unresolved pain from their past, often buried on some subconscious level. Due to the negative events in their past, they find it hard to express their feelings or have healthy relationships. They often lack a sense of self-awareness and don’t feel validated enough to express their real emotions or desires. Continuing to bury painful feelings can lead to unhealthy outcomes. Only when individuals acknowledge their emotions – the good and the bad – can they move forward with healing.

When individuals engage in experiential and expressive therapy activities, our therapists observe them. To the client it doesn’t feel like a therapy session, but it gives our therapists insight into each client’s psyche. Everything from a client’s facial expressions to what they say can provide therapists with a greater understanding of their mental state. When participating in activities, clients are usually more comfortable and relaxed, and their expressions and reactions are more likely to reveal their true feelings.


At Shoreline, we offer various types of experiential and expressive therapy activities. Our experienced therapists tailor the activities to best fit each client’s preferences and personality. Some of our activities include:
Treatment aims to teach each client how to take a proactive approach to dealing with stressful situations and negative emotions from past events. They learn that how they respond to challenges can make a considerable difference in their lives. If their past is full of poor choices, then they’ll learn better ways to communicate with others as well as how to better understand themselves.

In time, they’ll see that they control their actions. No matter what emotions they feel, their emotions don’t have to overwhelm them. This contributes to greater self-awareness, better coping skills, and increased confidence.

At Shoreline, we also utilize other types of behavioral therapies based on each client’s needs and their individualized treatment plan, including:
To learn more about the eating disorder treatment programs at Shoreline, call us today at (562) 434-6007.
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