What Is It?
Expressive art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that integrates creative arts into the healing process. While talk is the most common mode of exchange in therapy, we know that as humans, verbal communication is only one of the numerous ways we communicate. Expressive therapy honors the diversity in our communication styles and needs, and invites the client to utilize expressive art forms within a therapy session to communicate, clarify, explore, soothe among other goals. We all have feelings and memories that are not easily put into words. In fact, our brain and body frequently store emotions and memories without words. When words are not enough, the expressive arts can often help us access and transform what we need to heal.
Expressive Arts Therapy encourages clients’ active participation in the therapeutic process. It fosters self-expression and imagination, and makes important mind-body connections. Emerging research in neurobiology is teaching us that to make lasting change in therapy, we need to make changes with both the body and mind engaged. Expressive arts therapy can be described as a primarily non-verbal form of therapy; however verbal processing can often be an important component of this work as well.
Expressive arts therapy can be used as the primary mode of therapy or combined with traditional psychotherapy and incorporated into sessions to enrich your therapeutic process. Expressive therapy can be helpful for children, adolescents or adults with a variety of needs and goals. Previous arts experience is not required, and the emphasis is on the creative process rather than the product.