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

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
 

The goal of expressive arts is to bypass your more analytic brain, as well as your more default mode of being. Interventions may include using symbols to represent feelings or memories or drawing or writing with focus on the process, not the product, to elicit deeper understanding of the topic at hand. Sometimes by circumnavigating the more literal content what’s underneath is discovered.

— Jennifer Alt, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist

Expressive Arts Therapy taps into the expressive arts (visual art, writing, music, movement, and drama) for therapeutic expression, catharsis, and integration. These modalities provide a way to deepen into your emotions in ways that go beyond the limits of talk therapy.

— Ellie Lotan, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Berkeley, CA
 

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

Expressive Arts Therapy is the use of drama, visual art, writing, music, movement and ritual for the purpose of self-expression and healing. What this looks like in a given therapy session varies depending on the person I’m working with, their interests and comfort levels.

— Jessika Fruchter, Marriage & Family Therapist in , CA

I believe that every client I encounter has different needs and ways of approaching their own healing. My treatment orientation is tailored to each individual and one of the most creative ways we can approach treatment together is through the expressive arts. Whether you want to write a song together in session, paint a mountain, or create stress balls. Expressing yourself alternatively in session can and has shown to be really transformative for the clients I've worked with.

— Ashante Taylorcox, Associate Professional Counselor in Marlton, NJ
 

I specialize in Expressive Arts Therapy through my education and in practice. I am a member of the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association (IEATA) and attend conferences whenever I can. Mental health issues often coincide with an individual's inability to express themselves fully. The creative process can help folks get back in touch with the self through an expression of the body, mind, and spirit.

— Men Chun Wong, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in San Mateo, CA

The expressive arts therapy (EXA) approach recognizes your creative ability to heal. By exploring visual images, music, movement, writing, and other art processes, you will be able to get access to unconscious parts, gain insights, and break long-standing patterns. In the expressive arts process, I will guide you to let go of expectations to “be a good artist” and support you to connect to the delight of freeing yourself from your limitations and expressing your authentic self.

— Angela Luna, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Pablo, CA
 

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, Associate Professional Counselor in Tucker, GA

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
 

I believe in the capacity of artistic expression to explore and heal suffering. I studied theater arts and performed in NYC in my early twenties and experienced first hand the power of sound, image, movement, writing, and playing on the understanding of self. As Levine and Levine (2009) describe, expressive arts therapy explores how imagination can create a source of meaning. I believe it can also heighten a person's self-awareness and act as an avenue to investigate the present moment.

— Elizabeth Kahn, Licensed Professional Counselor Associate in Marlton, NJ

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
 

Expressive Arts Therapy is the use of drama, visual art, writing, music, movement and ritual for the purpose of self-expression and healing. What this looks like in a given therapy session varies depending on the person I’m working with, their interests and comfort levels.

— Jessika Fruchter, Marriage & Family Therapist in , CA

When we open ourselves up to creation, we awaken buried or forgotten parts of ourselves. Engaging in creative action or activity such as drama, music, movement, art, or poetry, gives life to our fuller beings. What was silenced, we give voice or sound; what was stuck, we give movement or shake; what was invisible, we give sight or form. Playing with these mediums alongside psychotherapeutic processes can hasten our healing and recovery by forming new possibilities.

— Atara Vogelstein, Creative Art Therapist in New York, NY
 

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

Conscious, verbal thought is a small part of all the "thinking" we do. Art is one way to bring underlying themes to the surface where we can think about them deliberately. But art is also a way of thinking without using words, sometimes using color, line, shape and movement is the only way to express a feeling or experience.

— Heather Hanlin, Licensed Professional Counselor Associate in Cedar Park, TX