Expressive Art Therapy

Expressive art therapy uses the creative arts as a form of therapy. Similar to art or dance therapy, expressive art therapy uses the creative process of each individual to promote healing. The goal of expressive art therapy is to facilitate self-discovery, increased awareness, connection and understanding. The act of creating art helps to unlock the expression of inner feelings, and the creative process is the path toward better emotional health. Rather than focusing on the final product, the process of creation via nonverbal language is the emphasis. This type of therapy is often used with children, who may participate in music, movement, or finger painting while the therapist observes the activity and encourages the child to talk about the experience. Adult clients might journal, dance, or create videos in order to connect better with themselves and others. Think this approach might be right for you? Reach out to one of TherapyDen’s expressive art therapy specialists today.

Meet the specialists

Using our words isn't the only way to process or express our emotions. My training in expressive arts allows clients to use other tools, such as writing or drawing, to express feelings that we sometimes don't have words for. Not an artist? Good news, you don't need to be one in order to use creativity to sort through your emotions, you just need willingness and an open mind.

— Tayyibah Chase, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in San Francisco, CA
 

I utilize art to work with you on a variety of different emotions that might be more difficult to talk about. Are allows you to express how you are feeling in ways that words sometimes can't capture. You don't have to be a good artist to do art therapy. I'm not certified as a Art Therapist but I use a great deal of techniques from that schooling to help my patients with their depression and anxiety to better understand where they are in their pain and how to cope.

— Julie Goch, Counselor in Canton, OH
 

Even people who say "I'm not an artist" or "I can't draw" find that expressing themselves creatively gives them insight. Sometimes words aren't enough. Expressive therapy taps into emotions, sensations and memories, to discover sources of pain and light.

— Lisa Hedden, Counselor in Tucker, GA

As a Registered Drama Therapist, I am trained to use dramatic and other creative techniques along with verbal therapy in sessions. Please read the "Drama therapy" page on my website for details about drama therapy.

— Krista Verrastro, Creative Art Therapist in Reisterstown, MD
 

Expressive Arts Therapy is inclusive of all modalities of art in a therapeutic context for deepening connection, healing, self-awareness, and growth. Modalities of art include visual art (drawing, painting, collage, clay and sculpture, etc.), music and sound, dance/movement, drama, poetry, and many more. The arts offer a new lens with which to view one’s life, relationships, challenges and triumphs and can bring forth insight and meaning that may not come as easily from traditional talk therapy.

— Danielle Saporta, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Berkeley, CA

Music therapy is a powerful medium. Unique outcomes are possible. In music therapy, each individual is provided support and encouragement in the acquisition of new skills and abilities. Because music touches each person in so many different ways, participation in music therapy offers opportunities for learning, creativity and expression that may be significantly different from more traditional therapeutic approaches.

— Megan Dozler, Creative Art Therapist in Napa, CA
 

The arts are therapeutic tools in my world, meaning I draw, write, dance, and paint a lot and love to incorporate these modalities into therapy sessions. In using the arts, you will find that you access different ways of thinking than when you process simply using analytical thought, reason, and conversation (which are also great tools!). By feeling into your experience and expressing it in more than one way, you can discover more about yourself, and learn new skills for managing your emotions.

— Anna McDonald, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Francisco, CA

Expressive Arts Therapy (EXA) is an effective and powerful way of working that is different from traditional talk therapy. While talking is a part of the process and how we make meaning of our world, there are often things that we don't have words for. Using visual art, movement, and creative writing, we access our -physical -mental & -emotional levels of awareness and can gain insight into how we have been stuck in certain patterns of understanding and relating to ourselves and others.

— Jennie Powe Runde, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Oakland, CA
 

I have my BA in Women's Studies and Theatre Arts from UC Santa Cruz and my Master's in Counseling Psychology with an emphasis in Drama therapy from California Institute of Integral Studies. My practice is infused with creative arts methods including drama, visual arts, movement, storytelling, and sand tray therapies.

— Sarah Korda, Counselor in San Francisco, CA

Words are powerful, but sometimes get in the way, especially when we are trying to express the deepest, most powerful parts of ourselves. The arts provide an opportunity to playfully connect to feelings in new and often surprising ways. In music therapy we use our voices, musical instruments and recorded music, but may also bring in other media like movement or visual arts. No previous experience necessary - it's not about how it looks or sounds, but how it feels to do it.

— Al Hoberman, Creative Art Therapist in New York, NY
 

Sometimes, the words we use to describe what we are going through (talking) doesn't completely explain our pain or difficulties. Some things are difficult to put into words, yet are felt and sensed quite clearly. This is where non-verbal practices (art, movement, music, writing, storytelling, ritual) can be helpful, as they express--via creativity--the how, what and why of our situation. I am trained in facilitating expressive arts therapy sessions, and have simple tools to offer.

— Amanda Rebel, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Denver, CO
 

Using our words isn't the only way to process or express our emotions. My training in expressive arts allows clients to use other tools, such as writing or drawing, to express feelings that we sometimes don't have words for. Not an artist? Good news, you don't need to be one in order to use creativity to sort through your emotions, you just need willingness and an open mind. It's not about the product, it's about the process.

— Tayyibah Chase, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in San Francisco, CA

As a Registered Drama Therapist, I have pursued thorough postgraduate training to use storytelling, make-believe play, art, and improvisation as powerful tools to help children heal from anxiety and trauma. I am a graduate of the Kint Institute's Art and Trauma Treatment certificate program, based in New York City, and have taught theater to adolescents at a therapeutic boarding school for teenagers in crisis in Northern Utah.

— Katie Lear, Licensed Professional Counselor in Davidson, NC
 

Expressive arts therapy is a great way to get children and teens more involved inter own therapy. I have a Master degree in Arts Education from FSU. I work with clients using art, music and crafts to help them express their emotions and learn more about themselves.

— Kim Martinez, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Tampa, FL

There is a vast, inner world of symbolic imagery that lies beneath our conscious minds. It helps us to organize our complex experiences, perceptions, and behaviors. When we connect with this through creativity, we can experience fresh, and meaningful opportunities to understand and rewire ourselves. I earned my Bachelor of Fine Arts before studying Expressive Arts therapies in graduate school, and I've been working as a Clinical Art Therapist in medical settings for the past 2 years.

— Rory Valentine Diller, M.A., Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Orinda, CA

I have a Master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a concentration in Expressive Arts Therapy from Goddard College. I am currently under supervision to obtain registration with the International Expressive Art Therapy Association. I infuse the use of Expressive Arts methods into almost everything that I do, as I have continually witnessed the transformative power of this approach.

— Nathan Heydari, Counselor in Salem, OR
 

Experienced/trained playwright, screenwriter, songwriter, director, and producer.

— Shontae Graham, Counselor in ,
 

Playwright, Screenwriter, director and producer.

— Shontae Graham, Counselor in ,

Using our words isn't the only way to process or express our emotions. My training in expressive arts allows clients to use other tools, such as writing or drawing, to express feelings that we sometimes don't have words for. Not an artist? Good news, you don't need to be one in order to use creativity to sort through your emotions, you just need willingness and an open mind.

— Tayyibah Chase, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in San Francisco, CA
 

Expressive Art is utilized throughout treatment in combination with Play Therapy and Sand Tray.

— Anthony Dimitrion, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Ridgewood, NJ

I trained at the Expressive Arts Institute of San Diego in sand tray therapy and multiple modalities of the expressive arts including music, dance, spoken word, and theatre.

— Heather Alesch, Psychologist in Nashville, TN
 

I am a registered play therapist who chooses to use many aspects of expressive art such as music, writing, & art in my work with adults especially when working on trauma.

— Monique LCSW, Clinical Social Worker in Little Rock, AR