What is Expressive Arts Therapy?
Expressive Arts Therapy draws on your imagination to express your feelings and emotions or explore possibilities for the future through creativity.
It is a tool for self discovery and a means for gaining greater awareness of how we see and feel our way in the world. It can help us find solutions and connect us with our inner resources. Because of the underlying belief that we are all creative, this process will tap into your innate well of creative expression.
Expressive arts encompasses a range of modalities that connects our physical senses especially visual, auditory and kinaesthetic. Some of the modes of expressive arts are collage, paint, clay, writing, drawing, rhythm, story, dance, music, movement, clay and drama.
Most expressive arts processes start with a warm up such as guided meditation or visualisation, music, movement or drumming which helps participants to enter a creative or imaginal space.
Research has shown that doing something artistic or creative reduces stress, promotes relaxation and mindfulness and encourages positive and joyful feelings.
How and where can Expressive Arts be used?
I have used Expressive arts in a range of settings including
Within business / corporate settings
- a team used art and collage to develop a shared vision and sense of direction
- staff incorporated art into their wellbeing program to promote relaxation and stress management
- teaching improvisation and collaboration through the use of drama games
- of women navigating change and transition such as retirement or ageing or empty nest
- of teenagers coping with the impact of cancer on their families and their lives
- of parents coping with a challenging medical diagnosis in the family
- of older people to tap into their inner child and learn to play again
- of isolated people to develop connection and a self mastery
- developing personal goals and ideas for a vision board
In situations where participants are looking for ways to manage
- grief and loss
- loss of / searching for purpose