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

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

— Shontae Graham, Counselor
 

I enjoy adding in expressive arts to help promote the mind body connection.

— Erin Betz, in Severna Park, MD, MD

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
 

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 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
 

Expressive therapy is a therapy modality that uses self-expression through the process of creating. You do not have to be an artist to benefit from expressive therapy. Many different types of expression are used, depending on the focus, including drawing, painting, sculpture, and collage. The kinesthetic experience involved in creating art engages the emotional parts of our brains in ways that the cognitive focused process of talk therapy does not; this aids in processing more fully.

— Mychelle Moritz, Licensed Professional Counselor in Portland, OR

I have extensive training in several art mediums from high school and college. During my masters in counseling program, I focused on the use of the arts in counseling. Since beginning my career in counseling, I have incorporated this experience and research into my work with clients and have pursued additional training to hone my integration skill.

— Andrea Tackore, Psychotherapist in Winter Park, FL
 

In addition to traditional art therapy, I also use other forms of expressive therapies including narrative, geek therapy, comic therapy, and use gamification to help clients achieve their goals.

— Alison Maples, Counselor in Royal Oak, MI

Incorporating creativity into one’s life has been shown to positively affect mental health. With intermodal expressive arts, the options of creativity are as open as you need them to be. Movement, sound, visual art, and drama can all be incorporated into sessions and are often used together. I create a safe space for clients to engage in creative expressions and further deepen their understanding of themselves and their mental health needs.

— Lisa Headings, Counselor in Portland, OR
 

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
 

Words are powerful, but sometimes get in the way, especially when we are trying to express the deepest, most powerful parts of ourselves. When that happens, 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 mediums 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

I am certified in person-centered expressive arts therapy through Dr. Natalie Rogers at Saybrook University, and in movement-based expressive arts through Tamalpa Institute. Sometimes words are not enough to express what's happening or what you are feeling. Expressive arts include the whole person. By activating right-brain processes, they let you not only communicate what words cannot, but also tap into the natural wisdom of your body and free its ability to heal.

— Claudia Hartke, Psychologist in Boulder, CO
 

In addition to specific trauma-focused therapies, I supplement with expressive techniques like art, movement, dance and sandtray. I look forward to sharing these with you as you want/need!

— Jennie Lannette Bedsworth, Counselor in Columbia, MO

Playwright, Screenwriter, director and producer.

— Shontae Graham, Counselor
 

Expressive Art Therapist is the use of art, music, and other forms of expression to work on therapeutic topics. We are proud to have board certified music therapists available to engage with you in a new and creative outlet. We also have counselors with experience using expressive means such as drawing, writing, and other forms of expression to help you enhance your therapeutic process and explore a deeper sense of self.

— Virtual Counselor, Counselor in Easton, PA

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
 

"Expressive Arts Therapy - is the practice of using imagery, storytelling, dance, music, drama, poetry, movement, dreamwork, and visual arts, in an integrated way, to foster human growth, development and healing." ~ Appalachian Expressive Arts Collective

— Taisir El-Souessi, Creative Art Therapist in Asheville, NC

I have a Master’s degree in Expressive Therapies from Lesley University

— Danielle Gagnon, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in , MA
 

I was trained in expressive arts through my graduate program and enjoy using drawing, painting, sand tray, play therapy, and drama therapy to help support your growth. Let me know what your interests are and we\'ll find a way to incorporate it into your treatment plan!

— Sprout Therapy PDX, Licensed Professional Counselor in Portland, OR

My degree is in counseling psychology with a focus on expressive arts therapy. I studied and practice; dance/movement therapy, somatic experiencing, poetry therapy, art therapy, music therapy, play therapy, and drama therapy. Creativity is a fotce for healing.

— Genevieve Saenz, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Austin, TX
 

Expressive therapy is a therapy modality that uses self-expression through the process of creating. You do not have to be an artist to benefit from expressive therapy. Many different types of expression are used, depending on the focus, including drawing, painting, sculpture, and collage. The kinesthetic experience involved in creating art engages the emotional parts of our brains in ways that the cognitive focused process of talk therapy does not; this allows us to process more fully providing

— Mychelle Moritz, Licensed Professional Counselor in Portland, OR

Expressive Arts Therapy can assist us in reengaging our imagination to dream up creative solutions to our current struggles, strengthen coping, bolster resilience give voice to oppressed parts of ourselves, and give us vision for our future goals. It can be a powerful way to access difficult content through metaphor & externalizations of of internalized pain. I have practice using visual art, music, drama, poetry, writing & dance in therapy.

— Jonathan Julian, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Oakland, CA
 

I incorporate different creative modalities such as picture cards, drawing, clay and games when needed to help facilitate, healing, insight and growth.

— Tara Farley, Licensed Professional Counselor in Gladstone, OR

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
 

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

Get those feelings out there! I enjoy using expressive modalities from narrative, to sandtray, to art. Whatever moves you to share your feelings or get them out in a way that feels more inviting and less threatening! Expressive modalities are a creative way to approach deep content from another angle in a safe, contained way.

— Safrianna DeGroat, Counselor in Hagerstown, MD
 

I completed a rigorous, 3 year master program specializing in Expressive Art Therapy. This is one of my specialty treatment orientations because I have been trained in it extensively and have utilized it as a School Counselor at two different schools in the Bay Area.

— Catharine Pritchard Hawks, Associate 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
 

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