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Blake Ruble from Alliance Experiential Counseling talks about experiential therapy and its many benefits.
Jess Barry: Hi everyone, welcome to Sandstone Care’s, Inspire and Empower Change podcast. I’m Jess Barry and we’re joined here today with Blake Ruble from Alliance Experiential Counseling. Hey Blake, thanks so much for being here.
Blake Ruble: Hey, thank you for having me, I’m glad to be here.
Jess Barry: I know we’re on beautiful Green Mountain in Lakewood, Colorado, which is fitting because Blake is an experiential counselor. Blake before we get into the nitty-gritty on your practice, share with us a little bit about your background in mental health, what got you into the field and-
Blake Ruble: Sure. I first started doing this type of work actually when I was in the Peace Corp. I was involved in some peer to peer health education work. So it wasn’t directly mental health, but really kind of gave me a passion for just that direct service. So when I returned I took a job at a mental health facility and worked there for a couple years doing behavioral health and as challenging as it was, I found that I really enjoyed it too and just found a lot of meaning in it. I went back to grad school at Clemson and got my Masters and graduated from there about a year and a half ago and moved out to beautiful Colorado.
Jess Barry: Awesome. And your practice if just down the street in Lakewood?
Blake Ruble: Yeah, it’s right off Jewel Avenue, right across the street from Green Mountain, and that was actually very intentional on my part. Doing this kind of experiential work, I love to get out of the office. One of my favorite things to do is just go do a session out on a hiking trail and this is one of them.
Jess Barry: That’s awesome. So what … tell us a little bit about like what is the experience of experiential therapy. When you’re out on a hike, how does that look and what approaches, modalities, do you incorporate?
Blake Ruble: So experiential is actually a really, really broad term, so I’m glad you asked that. I do a lot of movement based, a lot of exercise based work, because that really starts on a fundamental level with creating neurological change. Anytime you’re engaged in aerobic exercise, your brain’s engaging in neurogenesis, which is the creation of new neural pathways in your brain and so that alone means that anytime we’re out here walking and doing a session, that people have more of an ability to process and to really kind of dig deeper, versus just kind of sitting in a stuffy office.
Jess Barry: Absolutely. And who benefits from experiential therapy?
Blake Ruble: You know I think that’s a good question and I think there’s a pretty wide array of people that do. The first thing I say when people ask me this question is that, therapy’s really kind of built on auditory processing and being able to engage in a conversation and take something away. Not everyone learns that way, I don’t learn that way. I learn by doing, and so that’s kind of how I ended up in this experiential work. The first thing I would say is just people who identify with learning or growing in different ways than just that traditional-
Jess Barry: More of a hands-on way?
Blake Ruble: Yeah, absolutely. But I would say that this approach has been really popular with youth. Particularly youth with executive functioning deficits, just because it is so oriented towards hard skills and skills that you can build in very non-threatening ways and generalize back into other parts of your life. Additionally, I think this has been really effective for folks coming out of addictions treatment. Folks that you guys would be working with.
Jess Barry: Yeah, yeah.
Blake Ruble: Just because those are people that have really … they’ve done a lot of difficult work to understand what they’ve been through and understand the process of addiction that’s gone on in their life and so when you start to kind of weed all that stuff out you have to replace it with something, so experiential therapy is a great way to get back out in the world and explore new passions and just get engaged with new habits and do things differently. Yeah, that’s another population I’d say really stands to benefit from this.
Jess Barry: Wonderful. So would you just share with our audience how they can reach you and get in touch to learn more about your services?
Blake Ruble: Absolutely. You can go on our website, allianceexperiential.com. We do offer free 30 minute consultations, so you’re welcome to go on there and sign up for a consultation, if you’re interested in learning more about it. Then we are located out here in Lakewood, so I always invite people to stop by the office and check it out if they want to kind of see the space and hear more about how that plays into what I do. And then if anyone wants to email directly, my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jess Barry: Wonderful. Well Blake, thank you so much for taking the time to come to beautiful Green Mountain with me and share with us about your practice.
Blake Ruble: Yeah, thank you for having me, I appreciate your time.
Jess Barry: Absolutely. All right. Well, we’ll see you next time for another podcast soon.