Experiential Learning

At Discovery Ranch, we have a long history of working with girls who previously had unsuccessful experiences in traditional outpatient therapy programs. If outpatient therapy has not worked, why do so many residential treatment providers still rely on the “fifty minute therapy sessions”? Discovery Ranch improves the therapeutic process by providing residential therapy in a highly engaged experiential environment.

What is Experiential Learning?

Experiential learning is learning through experience. Experiential therapy emphasizes how experiences, including environmental factors and emotions, influence the therapy process. Through the process of experience, your daughter can see abstract therapeutic concepts in a more understandable and meaningful way. Experiential learning involves the girl’s thoughts, feelings, and physical activities. Experiential opportunities allow the student to truly connect with those around her, the world, and herself.

Learning by Doing

Therapy is learning and we learn by doing. The most effective method to strengthening new neurology connections or healthy beliefs and thinking is by engaging the body in process. Confucius said it best, saying, “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”  Experiential therapies use the power of action, reflection, and transfer, which helps girls to understand and apply therapeutic concepts into their lives.

Overcoming Weaknesses

Experiential opportunities allow our girls to use their strengths and learn how to overcome their weaknesses. Through our highly experiential environment, girls develop the confidence and skills to overcome personal struggles. Experiential therapies provide an opportunity for girls to apply what they have learned through hands-on experiences. They then can integrate new information about themselves and the world around them in a real life setting. Experiential therapy and learning takes on many different appearances at Discovery Ranch, such as equine therapy, experiential group therapy, calf program, peer leadership programs, and FAM (Forget About Me) projects. Academic activities also introduce girls to new learning opportunities.

Through our experiential learning, our girls recognize and develop life skills, including:

• Honesty
• Respect
• Responsibility
• Hard work
• Service and sacrifice
• Accountability
• Courage
• Selflessness
• Empathy

Real World Learning in a Safe and Focused Environment

At Discovery Ranch, our girls practice positive principles in a supportive environment. While their responsibilities are real, the learning curve is not as steep as that in the adult world which they will one day enter. Staff and mentors will often stop an activity and ask girls, “What skills have you learned that you could use right now?” This kind of preparation pays off. Girls learn “real world” organizational, communication, and coping skills while participating in therapy at the Ranch. They leave feeling excited to meet new challenges and confident they can master them.


“I would say the number one thing that [my daughter and I] have going for us is that we have learned to communicate.”

If you have any questions, feel free to call our admissions department at 855-667-9388.

Hope, Passion, and Perseverance…