Expressive Art Therapy

Expressive art therapy uses the creative arts as a form of therapy. Similar to art or dance therapy, expressive art therapy uses the creative process of each individual to promote healing. The goal of expressive art therapy is to facilitate self-discovery, increased awareness, connection and understanding. The act of creating art helps to unlock the expression of inner feelings, and the creative process is the path toward better emotional health. Rather than focusing on the final product, the process of creation via nonverbal language is the emphasis. This type of therapy is often used with children, who may participate in music, movement, or finger painting while the therapist observes the activity and encourages the child to talk about the experience. Adult clients might journal, dance, or create videos in order to connect better with themselves and others. Think this approach might be right for you? Reach out to one of TherapyDen’s expressive art therapy specialists today.

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Meet the specialists

 

My background, prior to becoming a therapist, is in theater and dance/movement. Post-graduation I've received continued training and supervision in integrating expressive arts modalities such as art therapy, dance/movement therapy, and drama therapy. Sometimes words aren't enough. When it feels right, we'll weave in creative practices like art, movement, imagery, and writing to get a clearer picture of how you feel and what you need.

— Rachel Duvall, Clinical Social Worker

Expressive arts therapy modalities include dance/movement/yoga, writing, poetry, music, sound, drama/enactment/role play, embodiment, art, dreamwork, metaphor and symbolism (often through nature or imagery), and more. My version of expressive arts therapy is inspired by nature, intuition, narrative, and curiosity. Why just talk?

— Becky Robbins, Creative Art Therapist in Kenmore, WA
 

Certified in Healing Trauma with Guided Drawing: A Sensorimotor Art Therapy Approach to Bilateral Body Mapping by Dr. Cornelia Elbrecht’s Institute for Sensorimotor Art Therapy (2019) Certified in Level 1 & 2 Trauma-Informed Expressive Arts Therapy with Dr. Cathy Malchiodi’s Trauma-Informed Practices & Expressive Arts Therapy Institute (2018-19)

— Aly Dearborn, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Los Angeles, CA

The goal of expressive arts is to bypass your more analytic brain, as well as your more default mode of being. Interventions may include using symbols to represent feelings or memories or drawing or writing with focus on the process, not the product, to elicit deeper understanding of the topic at hand. Sometimes by circumnavigating the more literal content what’s underneath is discovered.

— Jennifer Alt, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist
 

I was trained in expressive arts through my graduate program and enjoy using drawing, painting, sand tray, play therapy, and drama therapy to help support your growth. Let me know what your interests are and we\'ll find a way to incorporate it into your treatment plan!

— Sprout Therapy PDX, Licensed Professional Counselor in Portland, OR

I have studied expressive arts since I was a child and through out my counseling career I have focus on expressive art therapy to help others cultivate their mental health wellness.

— Carolina Castano, Licensed Professional Counselor in Cincinnati, OH
 

Getting to do Expressive Art Therapy is the reason I became a therapist. It started with my interest in expressive writing. I have a background in writing and have relied on storytelling and poetry to help me through hard times. Then I discovered Natalie Rogers' book, The Creative Connection: Expressive Arts as Healing, and my interest opened up to other art forms. In our work, I may invite you to express yourself through writing, drawing, or collage, but it is always just that--an invitation.

— Meredith Lynne Simonds, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist

I was trained in Expressive Therapies, with a specialization in Visual Arts at Lesley University. When appropriate for the client, I use interventions in the visual arts, music, movement and writing/literature to help clients meet their goals.

— Linda Lufkin, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor
 

Get those feelings out there! I enjoy using expressive modalities from narrative, to sandtray, to art. Whatever moves you to share your feelings or get them out in a way that feels more inviting and less threatening! Expressive modalities are a creative way to approach deep content from another angle in a safe, contained way.

— Safrianna DeGroat, Counselor in Frederick, MD

Getting to do Expressive Art Therapy is the reason I became a therapist. It started with my interest in expressive writing and opened up to other art forms--and the connection among them--as I came to understand it through Natalie Rogers' book, The Creative Connection: Expressive Arts as Healing.

— Meredith Lynne Simonds, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist
 

Expressive Art Therapy is a multi-modal approach to heal; it is an adjunct I use to more traditional methods. It may include music, writing, dance, art and more.

— Michelle North, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Encinitas, CA

The arts are therapeutic tools in my world, meaning I draw, write, dance, and paint a lot and love to incorporate these modalities into therapy sessions. In using the arts, you will find that you access different ways of thinking than when you process simply using analytical thought, reason, and conversation (which are also great tools!). By feeling into your experience and expressing it in more than one way, you can discover more about yourself, and learn new skills for managing your emotions.

— Anna McDonald, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Francisco, CA
 

Think of me as your personal guide in finding your inner creative muse. We use the process of art makings and markings to explore and provide outlets for what gets trapped inside, smothered and stepped on. I want to help you tap into flexing, stretching, and growing these expressive muscles. You need no special skills to engage in this process, you have them already.

— Andrea Picard, Counselor in Chicago, IL

I use Active Imagination developed by Carl G. Jung to guide clients in analyzing the wholeness of their highest Self through the expressive arts. Our images, whether created visually, musically, in performance, or in dreams, are reflections of our personal unconscious. Embracing psyche in the fullness of its expression allows vital integration of the Self that has been repressed by life lessons that are no longer serving us. Through arts therapy we can each reacquaint with our unique spark.

— Rebecca Spear, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Pasadena, CA
 

When I have too many ideas and feelings to keep inside it can help to draw them out. You do not need to be a self-proclaimed artist to participate in any art or drama techniques. Sometimes what cannot be conveyed in words, can be more easily expressed in a doodle, image, song or movement. Role playing, art cards, storytelling, and poetry are all possible in this space and all you need to bring is a bit of curiosity.

— Arianna Wheat, Creative Art Therapist in Los Angeles, CA

I use visual, dance, music, writing, poetry, and nature-based practices to help you explore yourself.

— Justina Janda, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor in Asheville, NC
 

I am a certified expressive arts practitioner (CEAP) and I integrate this work both in person and in Telehealth settings in cases where it may be helpful for one to get out of their head to discover feelings that may be lingering. Expressive arts is used as an adjunct and is a multi-modal approach to healing. It may include; dance, drama, journaling, music, writing and more.

— Michelle North, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Encinitas, CA