2. Experiential

Credit: ADTA.org. S. Kleinman and group at Renfrew Center

Key points for the Experiential: 

  • Take caution while doing this experiential to remember that you are NOT providing therapy. This is solely a way to offer an example of a technique.
  • Use an experiential that transitions well into the rest of your in-service and is consistent with benefiting either the clientele or staff at the site. 

         The purpose of the initial experiential is to get the audience into their bodies. You can use this time to set the space and set an intention. Here, you can create group cohesiveness, calm or activate a group, give an example of techniques used with clientele or even simply practice breathing techniques. 

          Although the experiential is quite beneficial to take part in, some people may choose not to participate and simply watch. This is ok, especially with bigger groups. Remind those who are observing to relate as witnesses and keep in mind that their presence is felt and in this way they are still participants by being present. Again, it is very important to keep in mind the site and population when doing these experientials. You can choose to lead an experiential that they themselves, as staff, may benefit from. Concentrating on recurrent themes, such as burnout, can be advantageous for staff. In this case, it has been found useful to facilitate a self-care experiential which immediately meets them where they are at since burnout is common. You may choose to lead them through a movement intervention that you would typically use for their clients' specific needs. 


1- Staff Specific

You notice that the energy of the staff in attendance seems particularly high. Once you provide your brief introduction you begin an experiential that could help refocus their energy. You may choose to offer them a movement sequence along the dimensional scale (see “materials”) with the intention of centering their focus.

2- Client Specific

This option could be useful to offer staff an insight into how their clientele feel during a movement intervention. Maybe you work with patients/clients who suffer from depression. Allow a moment for the staff to think of a client who they can relate this too. Ask them to describe how that person holds their body. Then ask them to try that body posture on. This may look like shoulders slumping forward and their head facing downwards looking at the ground. Once they are here you can suggest that they take in the posture and notice any feelings that come up. Remind them that this is their client’s typical posture and that these are feelings that they may carry around with them often. Then, offer an intervention you feel could change their posture and/or mood. For instance, each participant can choose a movement that represents how they are feeling today and have everyone else try on their movement. This intervention is meant to help clients feel a sense of self in relation to others as well as help individuals feel understood. If your audience is too large or if time does not permit, you can split up into smaller groups or even do partner work. Mirroring is also a good intervention that can offer a similar experience. 

Proceed to Introduction