Expressive Art Therapy

Expressive arts therapy

Using a variety of artistic modalities such as drawing, painting, movement, journaling and writing, Expressive Arts Therapy allows you to access and use your imagination and creativity to find meaning, healing and deeper understanding of issues. 

What is expressive arts therapy?

Expressive arts therapy is a multimodal approach that may incorporate writing, dance, movement, painting, drawing, or music. A person is not required to have artistic ability to use or benefit from expressive arts therapy. In expressive arts therapy, you use multiple senses to explore your inner and outer world through the creation of different art forms and your in the moment experience of the process.

Often the hands will solve a mystery that the intellect has struggled with in vain.

Carl Jung

What is the process of expressive arts therapy?

In a typical session, we may initially engage in discussing the current issue that brings you to therapy. Next, I may describe or suggest a certain process, using a frame such as “choose two colours” or “use these tools to make marks and lines”. After a given time, the created product is a tool for aesthetic analysis. Often this brings to light different solutions and insights that were not previously available to the rational, thinking mind. In EXA therapy, you are engaging the imagination and its powerful role in healing, as well as the vast awareness of the unconscious mind. The focus of expressive arts therapy is on using the process of creativity to communicate inner feelings that were not available to you by simply thinking or talking about them. Art making can help people to better understand their emotions, thoughts, memories and experiences. In addition to using the healing properties of self-expression, I also incorporate psychodynamic and mindfulness-based approaches such as guided meditation.

How does EXA therapy work?

The term “poiesis” refers to the natural process of moving from the everyday world into the world of imagination and creativity that results in art making. Because art comes from a deep emotional place inside you, creative activity enables you to engage in a profound process of self discovery and understanding. Creativity is a pathway to the expression of inner feelings, leading to a process of self discovery and understanding. Expressive arts practice explicitly calls for entering the alternative world of the imagination as a means of transforming the situation of concern. This move into the imaginal reality is called “decentering”, as it involves a move away from focusing on the presenting problem or difficulty in order to investigate imaginative possibilities that may have been concealed within it

Who can benefit from expressive arts therapy?

Expressive arts therapy may be used as part of the treatment strategy for wide variety of concerns including:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Post traumatic stress
  • chronic medical conditions
  • social challenges
  • grief and bereavement
  • emotional problems
  • poor self-esteem