WHAT IS EXPRESSIVE ARTS THERAPY?
Since ancient times, and across cultures, the arts have been an integral part of healing, spiritual and communal practices and rituals. Each community has had its own unique way of expressing its vital spirit and reclaiming its wholeness. The field of expressive arts therapy applies this ancient wisdom -- the healing and transformative power of the arts -- to the practice of psychotherapy.
Expressive arts is a "multi-modal" approach. The process involves interweaving various arts modalities (visual arts, music, movement, poetry, sandplay, prose, drama and ritual) in a way that meets each unique client's needs as well as addresses the specific issues they present. Creative expression if for everybody, there is no need to be an artist!
By drawing from the different art disciplines, we expressive arts therapists can assist our clients in making contact with their authentic self. Each discipline brings something special and useful to the process, helping clients bridge the gap between their here & now literal reality, and the world of their imagination – a world where life stories are written in mythic form, and life experiences speak in symbols.
Within this context, art becomes a container for life’s suffering and conflicts, as well as its joys, beauty and celebration. Verbal reflection is used to help clients understand more deeply the art-making process, as well as the art that they themselves have produced. Talking also allows clients to translate the metaphors that have arisen within their art processes, into their own lives. I deeply believe in the capacity we have as human beings for imagination, and in the healing that can happen when we use symbolic language, or engage in the act of art-full expression.