Experiential treatment Activities

evidence-based approach to therapy

Also referred to as Experiential Therapy Activities, “ETA’s” are an evidence-based approach to therapy that allows an individual to process painful emotions, manage traumatic or stressful events, and learn healthy coping and problem-solving skills to not only manage their distress, but learn to overcome and even thrive. ETA’s are different from traditional “talk therapy” in that they allow a client to process cognitive and emotional distress through various hands-on, interactive tasks and experiences.

Research shows that ETA’s can increase feelings of self-confidence and self-esteem, build motivation, and alleviate anxiety and stress, while teaching practical life skills with measurable outcomes.

Examples of ETA’s available for clients at Project Ember Initiative (PEI) include play, art, music, writing, sports, building, woodworking, design, horticulture, and many more. Utilizing our ETA Program, clients are able to cater a program specifically for their needs using our 4-Pillar Approach to overall well-being.

4-Pillar Approach

Mental Health

Includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is often directly related to a persons overall physical and social well-being.


A person’s overall subjective sense of personal value based on how the feel about themself. Also stated, self-esteem may be defined as how much you appreciate and like yourself regardless of the circumstances. S-E should be balanced as both too much or too little can be problematic.


A person’s overall subjective sense of personal value based on what they have to offer in a tangible sense . Also stated, self-worth is the learned experiences and skillset we possess that help us become productive members of society. S-W should be balanced as both too much or too little can be problematic.

Self Leadership

Describes as how you lead your own life – setting your course, following it, and correcting as you go. It is the practice of intentionally influencing your thinking, feeling and actions towards your goals and not allowing oneself to be easily swayed by the negative influences of others.

How We Utilize the 4-Pillars
Through ETA’s

Step 1: Get to know the client

Before any type of assessment or evaluation of client needs, our focus at PEI is to get to stop and get to know our clients as people, not as the issues they bring to therapy. Taking a person-centered approach means spending time talking with our clients, understanding their story, learning about their hobbies and interests, and listening to the situations in life that have gotten them to this point. We take a very “non-sterile” approach to therapy believing the relationship and trust built between a client and their provider is far more powerful than knowing a bunch of fancy therapy terms and theories. While our providers are well versed in trauma, attachment issues, anxiety, depression, suicidality, and other common mental health issues and utilize evidence-based approaches, our primary focus is to create a welcoming atmosphere. More simply stated, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” (Theodore Roosevelt)

Step 2: Assess and evaluate client needs

While the relationship may take time to grow between a provider and their client, we do so in an intentional  and slow manner to continue focusing on building rapport and a solid foundation of trust. Early in the process we may begin assessing and evaluating mental health needs along with the types of Experiential Treatment Activities that best fit the needs and wants of our clients to establish “SMART” goals that are: S-pecific / M-easurable / A-chievable / R-elevant /  T-ime based

Step 3: Enact the plan

Beginning the process and using ETA’s doesn’t have to take months, sometimes this can even be done within the first session as a means of helping to build trust and rapport. Regardless of when, the most important piece is to act. Similar to the concept of kinetic energy that we learn about in science class, at PEI we believe that movement along with direction builds momentum and positive growth, so getting youth involved early on in the process is essential.

Begin your wellness journey today!

Ready to take the first step towards positive change? Contact us today to schedule your appointment and embark on your journey towards improved mental health and well-being.