Experiential Therapy

Its Relation to Cognitive Therapy
  • Leslie S. Greenberg
  • Jeremy Safran
  • Laura Rice


Experiential therapy refers to the broad class of humanistic and phenomenological therapies that emerged in the 1940s and were developed thereafter as an alternative to behavioral and psychoanalytic perspectives. The experiential psychotherapy tradition is best exemplified by the work of Carl Rogers and Fritz Perls, the founders of client-centered and gestalt therapy, respectively. Other writers in the client-centered tradition such as Eugene Gendlin, who has extensively used the term experiential therapy, have made important contributions to the theory and practice of experiential psychotherapy as have others from humanistic and existential traditions (Frankl, 1959; Jourard, 1971; Laing, 1975; Mahrer, 1978, 1983, 1986; Whittaker, 1975). Although there are important differences between gestalt therapy and client-centered therapy just as there are differences between different cognitive theorists such as Beck and Meichenbaum, for the purposes of this chapter we will be looking at the common, core aspects of these approaches that define them as experiential.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leslie S. Greenberg
    • 1
  • Jeremy Safran
    • 2
  • Laura Rice
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyYork UniversityDownsviewCanada
  2. 2.Clarke Institute of PsychiatryTorontoCanada

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