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Experiential Therapy

Experiential therapies are founded on clear and coherent principles of dynamic and holistic human functioning. Several are informed by phenomenological philosophy as the disciplinary basis for depth psychotherapy and nuanced relational, intersubjective, embodied practice. Practitioners in this section work intentionally with the client’s capacity for enquiry, growth and development. The therapeutic relationship between practitioner and client is seen as the foundational element of therapy and the key source of learning.

Practitioners of experiential therapies work intersubjectively with the experience of the client – and the impacts of the therapist – as it emerges moment to moment. Clients are thereby supported to develop non-habitual responses, and new perceptions and abilities, (new neural pathways for responsiveness), in many areas of subjective experience. This involves a freeing of the individual from habitual patterns which have become fixed in the body and mind. Somatic sensations, feelings, thoughts, beliefs and spirituality are all brought into the enquiry as interrelated aspects of how clients organise their experience. Furthermore, the therapist attends to the client’s social and cultural context and the life circumstances that have shaped and are shaping their thinking, feeling and acting. Experiential therapists work with clients individually and in groups.

Experiential therapies apply to a broad range of clients with a broad range of concerns, including relationship difficulties, depression, anxiety, life stress and existential discontent, , recovery from mental illness, and physical and emotional trauma. Therapy may be long term or short term, with frequency of session dependent on the stage of therapy and the client’s needs.

Practitioners have graduated from specialist accredited courses of three to seven years’ duration, with experiential and theoretical training that includes supervised practice and long-term personal therapy. Many have prior qualifications in counselling or human services. Practitioners are required to continue their professional development, supervision and personal development.

Member Associations within this Section:
Association of Transpersonal and Emotional Release Counsellors
Association of Soul Centred Psychotherapists
Australian and New Zealand Psychodrama Association
Australian Radix Body Centred Psychotherapy Association
Gestalt Australia New Zealand
Melbourne Institute for Experiential and Creative Arts Therapy
Music and Imagery Association of Australia