Expressive Arts Therapy
Art had been one of the areas with which people have successfully sort their leisure. Observing success of how creative process creates emotional growth, psychologists began to employ them in therapeutic interventions, which came to be known as Expressive arts therapy. This approach integrates several creative domains through which an individual might express or vent out their emotions and seek for a better understanding of the emotions. This therapy might be inclusive of different creative arts like the drama therapy, art therapy , music therapy etc.
What to expect?
In expressive arts therapy, one employs multiple senses to explore one’s inner and outer world through the process of creation and experiencing of different art forms. The therapist or counselor helps the client communicate their feelings about the process and accomplishment of art making, and together, with the therapist the client utilizes the creative process to highlight and analyze the client’s problems and issues. It should be remembered that the art outcome is not the goal of therapy, the goal of the therapy is to deal with psychological distress, and therefore, it is not necessary to have a background or training in the arts to benefit from expressive arts therapy. In the process, the client learns new and different ways to use the mostly nonverbal language of creativity so that the client can communicate inner feelings that were not previously available to them by simply thinking or talking about them, so that betterment can be ensured.
How Does It Work?
The fundamental basis of expressive arts therapy is the concept of poiesis, it is a Greek word from which the English word poetry have been derived, it refers to the process of naturally moving from everyday expectations towards the world where imagination and creativity rests that results in creation of art. Because art emerges from a deep emotional place of an individual, creative endeavors allows the individual to experience a profound process of self-discovery and understanding. Creativity turns into the pathway of expression of inner feelings, forming and leading to a process of self-discovery and understanding. The creative process of an individual turns into the road to emotional health.
When is It Used?
Expressive arts therapy is employed while dealing with children and adults, both as individuals or in group set ups, to nurture deep personal growth and enhance transformation. For example, expressive arts therapy used with children with behavioral issues might include therapies like music, movement, or finger painting.
Role of an Expressive Arts Therapist:
The therapist actively observes the child’s processes through which the child proceeds with the creative art, the behavior of the child, and impulses of the child, and then can actively engage in encouraging the child to articulate the experience verbally. Storytelling, journaling, reading literature or poetry, and making life maps, videotapes, and memory books are all different forms of expressive art therapy that which are frequently used in order to help older clients review and aid them in seeking the meaning of their lives, so that they share their life story, and feel better connected their family and other significant people in their lives.
Ellen G. Levine and Stephen K. Levine. (ed.) Art in Action: Expressive Arts Therapy and Social Change. Jessica Kingsley Publishers. 2011.
Levine, SK. The Tao of Poiesis: expressive arts therapy and Taoist philosophy. Creative Arts in Education and Therapy. 2015;1(1):15-25
International Expressive Arts Therapy Association.