Expressive Arts Therapy
Expressive arts therapy combines psychology and the creative process to promote emotional growth and healing. This multi-arts, or intermodal, approach to psychotherapy or counseling uses our inborn desire to create—be it music, theater, poetry, dance, or other artistic form—as a therapeutic tool to help initiate change. Expressive arts therapy is used with children and adults, as individuals or in groups, to nurture deep personal growth and transformation. Journaling, storytelling, reading literature and poetry, and making life maps, videos, and memory books are all forms of expressive art therapy that can help clients review and make meaning of their lives, and to tell their life story, as well as help them engage with family and other significant people in their lives.
In expressive arts therapy, you use multiple senses to explore your inner and outer world through the experience and creation of different art forms. Your therapist or counselor helps you communicate your feelings about the process and accomplishment of art making, and together, you use the creative process to highlight and analyze your problems and issues. Since the therapeutic work is based on the creative process, not on the final result, it is not necessary to have a background or training in the arts to benefit from expressive arts therapy. Throughout the process, you learn new and different ways to use the mostly nonverbal language of creativity to communicate inner feelings that were not previously available to you by simply thinking or talking about them.
Somatic therapy connects us back to our bodies, the source of both many of our wounds and hard stories, perhaps pain-as well as the source of our resources, power, and new paths. The science of learning to quiet our central nervous systems is well-researched and one that is proven to lead us out of addictions, eating disorders, trauma, chronic pain, disassociation, and more.
There are many ways to begin to connect our bodies but all lie with creating a loving relationship between mind and body and remembering that these are not two separate entities but one beautiful system meant to work together.
TIY-trauma-informed yoga, breathwork, IFS-internal family systems, and many more paths begin to allow us to find our way back to our bodies and create loving bottom-up and top-down processing. This is the process where we can listen to our logic and conscious resources as well as our innate wisdom of our body's experience and felt experience.
See the trauma work page for more details on types of therapy for trauma-based somatic concerns.