Experiential activities play an essential role in experiential therapy, which is an established form of psychotherapy that dates back to the 1940s, when psychoanalysis methods were continuing to branch out into the new and more modern treatment structures that we refer to today as “talk therapies” – such as cognitive behavioral therapy. Experiential therapies sought to combine what the psychiatric community had learned about effective talk therapy methods with humanistic and phenomenological ideas – that is, the importance of experiencing or observing something, rather than having it be described.
Experiential activities were born as a result of continued research into the effects of doing things on the mental health of people with various conditions. This led to the formal development of a number of experiential activities that are still used commonly in mental health clinics and community centers throughout the world – such as art therapy, music therapy, and animal-assisted therapies.
The Verve utilizes these therapies as well, offering experiential activities to clients as a means to provide a breath of fresh air from other face-to-face talk therapies, and to help those who might not respond well to just words.