Experiential Methods of Therapy

SE (Somatic Experiencing)

Somatic Experiencing is a body-awareness approach to trauma being taught throughout the world. It is the result of over forty years of observation, research, and hands-on development by Dr. Peter Levine. Based upon the realization that human beings have an innate ability to overcome the effects of trauma, Somatic Experiencing has touched the lives of many thousands. SE restores self-regulation, and returns a sense of aliveness, relaxation and wholeness to traumatized individuals who have had these precious gifts taken away. Dr. Levine has applied his work to combat veterans, rape survivors, Holocaust survivors, auto accident and post surgical trauma, chronic pain sufferers, and even to infants after suffering traumatic births. From the website of the Foundation for Human Enrichment: www.traumahealing.com.

EMDR (Eye Movement, Desensitization, & Reprocessing)

EMDR is a method of psychotherapy that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma and disturbing life events. The core of EMDR treatment involves activating components of the traumatic memory or disturbing life event and pairing those components with alternating bilateral or dual attention stimulation. This process appears to facilitate the resumption of normal information processing and integration which results in the alleviation of presenting symptoms, lessening of distress from the memory, improved view of self, relief from bodily disturbance, and resolution of present and future anticipated triggers. www.emdria.org and www.emdr.com.


SoulCollage® is a process that provides clients with an inexpensive, accessible and gentle way to get to know themselves and their own wisdom, through parts or subpersonality work. It is used in conjunction with several different ego-state therapies, Jungian, Psychosynthesis, Voice Dialogue and Dream Work. Each SoulCollage® card is 5" by 8" and depicts a single energy, e.g., the Pusher, Playful, Adventurer, Critic, Fool, Wise Woman, Warrior, Writer, Gardner, Mother Earth, Angels, dream image or part of the client, etc. Anyone can make SoulCollage® cards; you don't have to be an artist. For more information on SoulCollage® workshops at Labyrinth Counseling Center, see Group Therapy and Workshops. To learn more about SoulCollage® please visit www.SoulCollage.com

Art Therapy

Art therapy is a holistic approach involving both sides of the brain. Art therapy is a type of psychotherapy that is provided by a qualified art therapist using a variety of media such as drawing, painting, clay and collage to access deeper levels of awareness. It is a natural healing process that uses metaphors and the individual's creativity. A client receiving art therapy needs no experience in the "arts" to benefit from this process.

Art therapy combined with traditional counseling techniques can help a client solve problems, gain insight and recover from a variety of issues. Art therapy is particularly useful for children and adolescents since these populations readily engage in the creative process. For adults, art therapy can reawaken the creative spirit for a deeper understanding of the self. This form of therapy uses the individual's creative process to provide a focus for reflection between the client and the art therapist. For more information see www.arttherapy.org.


Focusing is a body-mind approach that, once learned and mastered, can be practiced with or without the help of a therapist. Developed by longtime University of Chicago philosopher and psychologist Dr. Eugene Gendlin, student of Carl Rogers, it provides specific steps that enable people to feel differently about themselves and to feel release from stuck places in their lives. The therapist gently guides the client to turn non-judgmental attention inward, into the core of the sensed body, to spend time with issues with compassionate curiosity. When words come from an issue, rather than about an issue, the client gains new understanding of why this is even an issue in the first place. And the issue changes, it shifts, and the client feels different about the issue and about him or herself. Taught and practiced by thousands of people in over 46 countries around the world. Focusing can help with any issue. For more information: www.focusing.org.

DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy)

DBT builds on the foundational finding of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy that thoughts cause feelings. It adds self-compassion and acceptance as skills in the change process. DBT delineates four core competencies that can be taught and practiced: Emotional Regulation, Distress Tolerance, Interpersonal Effectiveness and Mindfulness. All of these skills reinforce the theory that healthy, life-affirming behavior arises from balancing the rational and emotional sides of the self. For more information, visit the website: www.psychcentral.com.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a form of psychotherapy that emphasizes the important role that thinking plays in how we feel and what we do. It is based on the idea that our thoughts cause our feelings and behaviors. Clients are taught how to notice their thoughts and challenge those that are creating negative outcomes in their day-to-day living. For more information, visit the website www.nacbt.org.

ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis)

Behavior Analysis is the science of behavior. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the science of applying the principles of behaviorism to modify behavior. The goal is to increase or maintain appropriate, desirable behaviors and decrease maladaptive, undesirable behaviors. ABA focuses on reliable and measurable data. Techniques that are used in ABA include, but are not limited to, reinforcement, behavior shaping, and chaining. ABA can be utilized to improve self-esteem (positive thinking), teach communication & language skills, increase social skills and awareness, decrease smoking, help with weight loss, and decrease defiant behaviors. Although ABA is best known in the autism community, it can be utilized for a variety of issues such as phobias, depression, anxiety, and eating disorders.


Hypnosis is a complex phenomenon. In therapy, it is a procedure in which changes are suggested in sensation, perception, thoughts, feelings and/or Behaviors. Clients experience hypnosis in various ways (eyes closed or open, body relaxed or tense) and to various degrees (from focused attention to more deeply relaxed states of consciousness). For more information see: www.asch.net.

Guided Imagery / Creative Visualization

Guided imagery is a gentle but powerful technique that focuses and directs the imagination. It involves the whole body, the emotions and all the senses. It is this body-based focus that makes this technique so impactful. Imagery has the built-in capacity to deliver complex messages by way of simple symbols and metaphors. Since it mobilizes unconscious processes to assist with conscious goals, it can gather much more of a person's strength and motivation to accomplish a desired goal. For more information, visit www.healthjourneys.com.

HMR (Holographic Memory Resolution)

"Holographic Memory Resolution is a new body-mind technique which allows expedient access to past memories and complete resolution of the painful emotions associated with these events without having to 're-live' such experiences and without affecting historical memory," from the website: www.healingdimensions.com.

Sandtray Therapy and Play Therapy

Sandtray therapy is a form of experiential therapy which allows greater exploration of deep emotional issues without the need for verbalization. Sandtray therapy is suitable for children and adults and allows them to reach a deeper insight into and resolution of a range of issues in their lives such as fear, anger, depression, abuse, or grief.

Through a safe and supportive process clients are able to explore their world using a sandtray and a collection of miniatures. Accessing previously unexplored areas is often possible using this expressive and creative way of working which does not rely on "talk" therapy. For more information see www.sandtraytherapyinstitute.com and www.sandtray.org.

PIT (Post Induction Therapy)

The premise of PIT is that childhood trauma, including child abuse and neglect, is the origin of developmental immaturity. For more information see www.themeadows.org.

Voice Dialogue

Voice Dialogue is a therapeutic technique created by Drs. Hal & Sidra Stone for facilitating awareness of our parts or subpersonalities. Through awareness of our energy shifts and thought patterns, we discover that we have more choices than we can imagine. For more information see www.voicedialogue.org.

Dream Work

Paying attention to our dreams can provide an infinite amount of information about what is bothering us, where we are at, and where we are going. Active imagination, imagery and experiential work can assist in exploring what the subconscious is bringing to our attention in our dreams. As the psychiatrist, Carl G. Jung once said, "Dreams are the windows to our souls."