Experiential Family Therapy Essay

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Experiential Family Therapy
Christine Miller
Brandman University

Experiential Family Therapy
Experiential family therapy is a general theoretical model that has evolved since its beginnings in the 1950’s to include current models like Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy and internal family systems model. Grounded in the belief that dysfunction in the family comes from suppressed emotions, experiential therapy endeavors to create experiences in the here-and- now that will allow families to examine their internal processes, and not get stuck at the intellectual level of problem-solution or cognition. Experiential therapists encourage transformation through individuation and self-actualization, believing that to bring a …show more content…

Satir taught that all people have an innate drive to grow, and that this drive is blocked by the impact of the family system. She felt that it’s not that people come into therapy not wanting to change, but rather not believing that change is possible. However, transformation is the goal in experiential therapy, which can be seen in shifts in how clients think and feel and how their drive for grow manifests positively in their lives and relationships. Change is brought about by powerful here-and-now experiences in therapy, and a deep, empathic and accepting relationship with the therapist (Brubacher, 2006).
Sarah is a 15 year-old girl from a middle class family. She is one of three children. Her older brother and younger sister spend half their time with their mother, and half their time with their father. Parents have been divorced since Sarah was five. Sarah and her family came to the therapist’s office seeking help with Sarah’s self-harming behaviors and violent, angry outbursts. Sarah’s parents called the police on several occasions because she seemed out of control and as though she might hurt herself or others. Over the past three months, Sarah had been hospitalized, been through two outpatient programs, and had just been released from 30 days at a residential treatment program. While the self-harm had ceased and much

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