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

 

I completed a Certificate in Intermodal Expressive Arts with Expressive Arts Florida Institute. In addition to a Master of Social Work, I have a Master of Music. I use a multi-arts approach in individual and group therapy. This means I use visual art, music, movement, writing, and mindfulness as therapeutic tools to initiate healing and change. Since this work is based on the creative process and not the resulting product, no background or training in the arts is required to benefit.

— Julie Collura, Clinical Social Worker 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 Arts help the client experience new personal states of being that talk alone doesn't reach. It is an experiential therapy powerful for accessing emotions, increasing mindfulness and stress reduction, and activating personal resources of creativity and expression. I am a former art teacher with training in expressive arts for children, teens, and adults.

— Amy Burley, Licensed Professional Counselor in Plano, TX

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
 

Expressive arts therapy uses a variety of creative techniques such as Sandtray, art, writing, and movement to safely express emotions and difficult experiences and to increase self-awareness through pictures, sounds, explorations, and encounters with the artistic processes. Artistic ability is not necessary because it is the engagement in one's senses the use of the imagination that supports healing.

— Tara Beardsley, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor in Asheville, NC

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
 

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

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
 

I use Active Imagination developed by Carl G. Jung in guiding clients to discover the wholeness of the Self through Expressive Arts. Our images, whether created visually, musically, in performance, or in dreams, are reflections of our personal unconscious. Embracing the wholeness of psyche allows vital integration of repressed parts of the Self, to release old patterns. Through arts therapy we can each reacquaint with our unique energetic spark.

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

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
 

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

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
 

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

You don't need to be any kind of artist to know that sometimes a picture, poem, sound, or movement is worth 1,000 words- which can be very helpful in therapy! We can try things like drawing a diagram of your relationships, choosing colors to represent your emotions, curating a playlist or image board about your family or job, speaking to your partner as if they're in the room with us, or finding an object that represents you in some way.

— Danielle Blais, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in , MA
 

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