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Purpose and Passion for Lost Teens: 5 Ways Experiential Therapies Can Help Boys Overcome Mental Health Issues

Teen Mental Health

Parenting adolescent boys through their teenage years is a journey filled with joy, love, and at times, worry. Young men growing up in today’s ever evolving world can get lost or may find themselves floundering in choppy waters. As parents we grapple with how best to support them, while helping them mature into functional, responsible members of society. When it comes to mental health struggles, traditional approaches may not always resonate with boys, leaving us searching for alternative paths forward. Enter experiential therapy – a beacon of hope and resilience for our lost teens. In this blog, we’ll dive into how this holistic approach can guide our boys towards overcoming mental health hurdles and discovering their purpose and passion.


What is Experiential Therapy?


“Experiential therapy is an approach to psychotherapy that includes recreational activities, various expressive modalities, and other physical and emotional activities.” It is useful in helping young men learn to identify and focus on their feelings through hands-on activities with the ultimate goal being to improve overall well-being overcome negative emotions.


Engaging Activities: A Gateway to Expression

For many young men, sitting in a therapist's office while they talk about their feelings can feel intimidating and uncomfortable. Experiential therapies break down these barriers by incorporating activities like art, music, sports, or outdoor adventures. Engaging in hands-on experiences allows your teen to express themselves through doing rather than talking. They are offered a form of communication that allows them to express feelings and emotions that they may have trouble expressing in words alone. Whether it's painting their emotions on a canvas or finding solace in the rhythm of a drumbeat, these activities provide a safe space for self-expression and connection.


Building Confidence through Challenges


The teenage years can be hard on boys. It is a time of intense growth, discovery, and maturation. Like all periods of growth, there is usually a considerable amount of discomfort that comes along in the form of insecurities and challenges. Experiential therapies offer boys the opportunity to confront these challenges head-on. Whether it's conquering a rock climbing wall or navigating a ropes course, each success becomes a building block for greater confidence and self-esteem. Through physical and mental ordeals, boys learn that they are capable of more than they ever imagined, empowering them to strive toward adulthood with courage and resilience.


Fostering Connection within Community


Despite the popularity of the “sigma male” lone wolf ideology floating around the internet today, young men need a community for support and accountability. Experiential therapies foster a deep sense of camaraderie and brotherhood. Through group activities and shared experiences, boys form bonds with each other and develop a support network that extends far beyond the therapy activity. This sense of belonging is invaluable for those  who may feel isolated or misunderstood in their struggles. Sharing their stories, listening to others, and working together towards common goals, these young men realize that they are not alone in their journey towards healing.


Exploring Identity: A Journey of Self-Discovery


Just like boys build confidence during their teen years, adolescence is also a time where young men develop their personalities. This period of self-discovery can be a tough time for some who may grapple with questions of identity and purpose. Experiential therapies provide a rich landscape for exploration, allowing boys to uncover hidden talents, passions, and interests. Whether it's discovering a love for nature through outdoor expeditions or tapping into their creativity through artistic expression, these experiences help boys connect with their authentic selves and find meaning in their lives.


Empowering Expression: Tools for Lifelong Resilience


Taking ownership of their own mental health journey is an empowering experience for a young man. By giving them the tools and resources they need to express themselves and navigate their emotions, these experiential approaches give these young men a taste of responsibility and personal autonomy. Whether it's learning mindfulness techniques to manage stress or finding healthy outlets for their emotions, boys emerge as men from experiential therapies. They are no longer passive participants in their own lives but active agents of change, capable of overcoming any obstacle that comes their way.


Learn More About Experiential Therapy


Want to learn more about how experiential therapy could help your son? Call Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center today to speak with one of our clinical experts on how we incorporate experiential therapy into our adolescent treatment plans. We’re here to help you get your child back, better. Call today.