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

 

Creativity like visual and 3D arts, writing, poetry, and movement can all be amazing ways to express and explore emotion, challenge our inner critics, and flex our ability to imagine new possibilities.

— Adrian Eraslan, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Oakland, CA

Over 20 years of practice developing and implementing expressive arts therapy programs and activities with children, adolescents, and adults. Systems aware and trauma-informed care that is scientifically proven to relieve feelings.

— Mary Beth Rabon, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor in Charlotte, NC
 

I held certification for Music Therapist from 2006-2021; I continue to bring my creative arts therapy background into my work through the Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music (Level II). I find this work personally profound, as music creates a container to explore our deepest, unconscious selves through imagery. I am happy to talk with you more, as this is a niche field.

— Deanna Villagran, Counselor in Flourtown, PA

Having performed nationally on stage, radio, and television, I am a spoken word artist and community organizer of an open mic series in Historic Filipinotown, Los Angeles. I have utilized elements of expressive art therapy with youth, adults, and families. With the understanding that wellness is holistic and the arts are healing, I believe in the therapeutic elements of self-expression for personal growth and greater social change.

— Eddy Gana, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Monterey Park, CA
 

While I work remotely I do a great deal of art therapy with clients who are interested. I send materials to clients homes, as well as do art therapy with material individuals have at home.

— Rachael Rosenberg, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Los altos, 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 utilize Expressive Arts Therapy to aid clients in identity exploration, emotional processing, and creativity building. Incorporating drawing, painting, sculpture, and writing into the therapeutic process can help folks discuss things they may not have the words to express.

— Lauren Appelson, Licensed Clinical Social Worker - Candidate in Chicago, IL

Artistry not required! I use active imagination to explore images, symbols, and dreams. These share a common thread in containing messages from the unconscious. Psyche communicates to us in the world of symbols and images. I have specialized training in Dream Analysis, Painting Therapy, Spontaneous Drawing, and am currently enrolled in a 2-year Sandplay training working with symbolic image creation. Let’s decipher the messages from your unconscious to realize your higher Self!

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

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

Using art in therapy eases the pressure of talk therapy. It allows for some creativity and freedom.

— Patricia Bishop, Clinical Social Worker in Knoxville, TN
 

I am trained in expressive arts techniques which provide people with opportunities to connect with themselves through different mediums and in more abstract ways. I use a technique called PeaceLove to help people safely create an understanding of what brings them peace of mind by reaching that state through artistic expressions.

— Kate St. Onge, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Burlington, CT

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
 

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

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
 

As a creative person, I enjoy incorporating expressive arts into my practice with interested clients; including drawing, doodling, collage, journaling, or writing exercises. As an eco-therapist, I encourage clients to observe and integrate natural materials and objects into their lives and use them in creative ways. As a trained MSBR provider, I may include mindfulness and visualization into creative sessions.

— Shelley Samuels, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in Oakland, CA

I have expertise in utilizing expressive arts therapy, with a specific focus on dance and movement. I understand the transformative power of movement and the profound impact it can have on emotional expression, self-discovery, and healing.

— Catherine Liang, Post-Doctoral Fellow in Pasadena, CA
 

Sometimes, the words we use to describe what we are going through (talking) doesn't completely explain our pain or difficulties. Some things are difficult to put into words, yet are felt and sensed quite clearly. This is where non-verbal practices (art, movement, music, writing, storytelling, ritual) can be helpful, as they express--via creativity--the how, what and why of our situation. I am trained in facilitating expressive arts therapy sessions, and have simple tools to offer.

— Amanda Rebel, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Wheat Ridge, CO

Art is a way to express your inner self without the limitations of words. Colors, sounds, flavors, and all other sensory experiences are information that can be communicated through various mediums of art. Art leads to connection where there may be isolation. In all shapes and forms, connection and communication is the purpose of art, and connection and communication are the foundations of healing. No level of artistic ability required

— Sidrah Khan, Licensed Professional Counselor in Austin, TX
 

Some think that Expressive Arts are only for "Artsy" people or children but this couldn't be further from the truth! In my work with adults (engineers, priests, musicians, data analysts, and more) expressive arts approaches like sand tray therapy techniques, collage, painting, drawing, and more have helped people have epiphanies that they never experienced in traditional talk therapy (which is great btw!). By exploring the mind in a different way, we can unlock things hidden from ourselves!

— Garrett Graves, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in DeLand, FL