What is Expressive Arts Therapy?
Expressive arts therapy is a way to use our imagination and creative process to heal from psychological wounding. Through any number of creative mediums such as painting, drawing, poetry, movement, collage or clay sculpture, we can access and heal the parts of ourselves that keep us from becoming our fullest self. The focus of expressive arts therapy is on the creative process that happens while interacting with your chosen creative medium as opposed to whatever the final product may be.
How I Integrate Expressive Arts Into Our Work Together
If you are interested in using expressive arts in our work together, we can talk about what expressive art mediums you are drawn to, and how you might like to incorporate them into therapy. You do not need to have any experience as an artist to work with a creative medium in therapy. The purpose of using a creative medium is to encourage psychological healing through contacting your imagination, playfulness and freedom of expression. In session I can offer you the use of colored pens and pencils, sculpture clay, watercolors, crayons and writing pens. You may also choose to work with a creative medium outside of session. You can then share your work with me during session and we can talk about your creative process and how it is impacting what you are working on in therapy.
How Does Expressive Arts Therapy Help?
Expressive arts therapy can be a helpful way to access and better understand the parts of ourselves that feel sad, hurt, confused, or lost. Expressive arts therapy encouraged this access by engaging our imaginations and self expression to connect with internal experiences that may feel out of reach or unknown.
If you suffer from depression and/or anxiety you may benefit from expressive arts therapy as a way to tap into the feelings that exist underneath the depression and anxiety. For example, you may experience depression as a “heaviness” and “numbness” in your body. Drawing or expressing the depression through movement may help you better understand your experience of depression and ways to reduce or bring relief to the part of you that feels depressed.
If you are a survivor of childhood abuse expressive arts therapy can facilitate the creation of protective images that support a sense of internal safety. These protective images or figures can then help you feel connected to yourself and safe if you are feeling overwhelmed.
Expressive Arts Therapy and Dreams
If you are curious to look at your dreams together in session, I encourage you to bring them in. After discussing the dream, and the images that were part of the dream, expressive arts therapy can be used to draw a scene or a figure from your dream. Engaging your imagination in this way can help to better understand the message of the dream and your emotional landscape.
Issues That Expressive Arts Can Help Address
Expressive arts can help you with a wide variety of issues including:
- Grief and loss
- Healing childhood wounds
- Intimacy and couples communication
- Trauma recovery and healing
- Depression, low self-esteem and self-worth
- Anxiety and stress management
- Spiritual development and personal growth
- Body image issues
- Healing family and peer relationships
I can be reached at 415.721.3355 or by email to discuss how using expressive arts can help you gain a better understanding of the challenges you are facing.