Hands-on activities are the basis of experiential therapy and learning. In this type of program, the therapists immerse you directly into activities that help you recreate past experiences. When similar situations are re-created in a safe atmosphere, you can start to recognize emotions, feelings and triggers and deal with them effectively.

Here is a closer look at what experiential therapy is and how it can help.

What Is Experiential Therapy?

Unlike traditional talk therapy, experiential therapy involves the clients taking part in activities, movements or actions in an effort to recreate real past experiences. These real-life experiences allow clients to identify and address the nature of their subconscious feelings, beliefs and attitudes.

In this kind of therapy, the patient takes part in an activity under the supervision of a therapist. The client is free to release negative feelings as they relate to past experiences that may be blocked within the subconscious mind.

Benefits and Goals of Our Experiential Therapy

The main goal of our experiential therapy is to take you from your comfort zone and engage in activities that will help you acquire new skills or values. This is made possible through hands-on experience instead of discussions, which are common with traditional talk therapy. Most of the time, you will engage in activities you love and enjoy, which increases the efficacy of this form of treatment. Below are some of the benefits of experiential therapy:

  • Unearthing subconscious problems: As you participate in experiential activities under the guidance of our therapists, you can identify your innermost feelings, find ways to deal with them and get better control of your actions as a result.
  • Provides hands-on experience: Experiential therapy gets you out of the counseling setting into a real-life scenario where you take part in real-life experiences. This allows you to be more focused on the activity rather than the therapy. In the end, you act more authentically, which enables you to understand your feelings better.
  • Making better choices: Experiential therapy gives you first-hand experience of dealing with challenges. Because of this, you can gain a clear understanding of the consequences of your choices, which helps you make better choices.
  • Identifying the cause of problems: Taking part in substance abuse activities can help you unearth your innermost needs, feelings, motives and wants. They also enable you to heal old wounds, which might be the cause of the chaos you’re experiencing in life. Identifying the cause of your problems in life can help you manage things better.
  • Better problem solving: As you focus on experiential therapy activities, you naturally focus on resolving past trauma and conflicts. In the process, you become a better problem solver and learn to enjoy better relationships with others.
  • Provides ways to spend leisure time: Our experiential therapy entails participating in activities like yoga, watersports and birding as part of the recovery process. These are good ideas for healthy and productive activities that you can engage in during your leisure time post rehab.
  • Builds trust with others: Most experiential therapy activities are done in groups. As a result, you get a chance to work with others. This helps foster teamwork and improve healthy interactions. Working as a team also helps members develop problem-solving skills.

Types of Experiential Therapy

There is a wide variety of experiential therapies that can help you in your recovery and living a sober life. Here are some of the experiential therapy options we offer our clients at Beacon House.

Equine Therapy

Spending time with horses has proven to be an effective way to help individuals recovering from substance abuse to learn patience and gentleness. In this program, you get an opportunity to interact with the horses through non-verbal communication.

With time, you and the horse create a deep connection as you get to learn more about each other. The horse becomes aware of your feelings as you learn some non-verbal cues. Such tools help create healthy relationships with others while setting healthy boundaries.

horseback riding. Equine therapy program.
“The horses are gifted at pointing out when the insides don’t match the outsides of a person. They help to crumble facades or walls without a person even realizing it! Once the participant spends a little time with the horse, they instinctively tune in to the horse and in so doing, become objectively self-aware.”
– Connie Yost, Equine Director, Polestar Farms
bird in California


Our birding experiential therapy provides you with an opportunity to experience what nature offers. Watching birds provides therapeutic value especially if you are struggling with disorders including anxiety disorders and general mental health issues. Our birding program is offered once every month.

“An opportunity to see some of nature’s wonders through clean and sober eyes.”

Surfing and Watersports

At Beacon House, we offer unique surfing and watersports services. Our professional surfer, Darryl “Flea” Virostko, and local surf instructor and counselor, Noah Greenberg, will take you through one-of-a-kind surfing and watersports experience. These services are conducted between the coasts of Santa Cruz, Carmel, Monterey and Big Sur.

Our surfing and watersports therapy focuses on helping you build confidence and getting the healthy benefits of sports while staying sober. Our surfing and watersport sessions will cover several water activities including water safety, boogie boarding and surfing among others.

surf therapy

In addition, Beacon House features Surfing & Watersports activities for Alumni throughout the year, all events are scheduled in advance and posted on our Alumni page.


Yoga has many benefits, and just one is that it provides therapeutic value if you are struggling with sensory processing. Through engaging in various types of yoga exercises such as practicing posture, breathing and relaxation techniques, you can develop enhanced body awareness, self-regulation and motor skills to support sensory-motor disorders.

The practice of yoga can also help relieve stress and anxiety, so it is an ideal activity to participate in if you’re suffering from substance abuse.

Golf and Recovery

Our golf and recovery services are provided by PGA professionals. As you engage in golf and learn about its dynamics, you’ll also enjoy the beautiful scenic views.

As you master golf fundamentals, you acquire other essential values like patience, a greater appreciation for hard work, confidence and improved self-esteem. You can also continue golf as a part-time activity once you complete the program

We use a simple approach for playing and enjoying golf, supporting an individual’s development through four steps:

  1. Get a grip
  2. Set up for success
  3. Find balance
  4. Swing for a lifetime
“To play golf better, think simply, swing simply.”
Experiential therapy program

In June 2019, our golf program was featured on two local news stations, KSBW and KION.

Rock to Recovery

Wes Geer (the former guitar player for Korn) is the founder of the nonprofit organization Rock to Recovery (https://rocktorecovery.org/). The clients form a “band” and write and record songs together, along with Rock to Recovery’s staff of professional musicians, who are also in recovery, creating incredible, transformative music expression groups.

What Conditions/Disorders Does Experiential Therapy Treat?

Experiential therapy is an effective treatment program for several issues and disorders. It can be used for both teens and adults. Some of the conditions and disorders we can treat with our experiential therapy program include:

  • Substance abuse
  • Trauma
  • Depression
  • Addiction
  • Grief and loss recovery
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Sex addiction
  • Behavior disorders
  • Anger management
  • Compulsive behavior like addiction

Our experiential therapy is also integrated with other forms of therapy such as trauma therapy, family therapy, holistic therapy and dual diagnosis treatment among other rehabilitation programs to provide better results.

Get in Touch With Beacon House for the Best Experiential Therapy Program

If you’re looking for addiction treatment with experiential therapy as part of the program, then you’re in the right place. At Beacon House, we use a combination of therapies to help our clients stay on the right track to recovery. Our program does not only cover therapy sessions, but we also stay with you by offering support and guidance post-rehab. To learn more about our experiential therapy program, call us at 831.372.4366 or get in touch with us online.