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.

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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 Troy, MI

Think of me as your personal guide in finding your inner creative muse. We use the process of art makings and markings to explore and provide outlets for what gets trapped inside, smothered and stepped on. I want to help you tap into flexing, stretching, and growing these expressive muscles. You need no special skills to engage in this process, you have them already.

— Andrea Picard, Counselor in Chicago, IL

I earned my master's degree in expressive arts therapy, and I'm working towards my license as a registered expressive arts therapist with the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association (

— Brittany Purrington, Creative Art Therapist in Kansas City, MO

As a creative person, I enjoy incorporating expressive arts into my practice with interested clients; including drawing, doodling, collage, journaling, or writing exercises. As an eco-therapist, I encourage clients to observe and integrate natural materials and objects into their lives and use them in creative ways. As a trained MSBR provider, I may include mindfulness and visualization into creative sessions.

— Shelley Samuels, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in Oakland, CA

I studied expressive arts therapy during my training, where I learned how diverse arts modalities can help individuals process emotions nonverbally. Talk therapy can be helpful for identifying the root cause of the suffering we experience, but processing emotions in the body is necessary for true healing to occur. Music, dance, writing, drawing, sculpting, drama, food, and other creative outlets are some ways we can access body based healing practices.

— Summar Abdallah, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist

While I work remotely I do a great deal of art therapy with clients who are interested. I send materials to clients homes, as well as do art therapy with material individuals have at home.

— Rachael Rosenberg, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Los altos, 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 Wheat Ridge, CO

Having performed nationally on stage, radio, and television, I am a spoken word artist and community organizer of an open mic series in Historic Filipinotown, Los Angeles. I have utilized elements of expressive art therapy with youth, adults, and families. With the understanding that wellness is holistic and the arts are healing, I believe in the therapeutic elements of self-expression for personal growth and greater social change.

— Eddy Gana, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Monterey Park, CA

I have expertise in utilizing expressive arts therapy, with a specific focus on dance and movement. I understand the transformative power of movement and the profound impact it can have on emotional expression, self-discovery, and healing.

— Catherine Liang, Post-Doctoral Fellow in Pasadena, CA

Certified in Healing Trauma with Guided Drawing: A Sensorimotor Art Therapy Approach to Bilateral Body Mapping by Dr. Cornelia Elbrecht’s Institute for Sensorimotor Art Therapy (2019) Certified in Level 1 & 2 Trauma-Informed Expressive Arts Therapy with Dr. Cathy Malchiodi’s Trauma-Informed Practices & Expressive Arts Therapy Institute (2018-19)

— Aly Dearborn, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Los Angeles, CA

Using art in therapy eases the pressure of talk therapy. It allows for some creativity and freedom.

— Patricia Bishop, Clinical Social Worker in Knoxville, TN

Some think that Expressive Arts are only for "Artsy" people or children but this couldn't be further from the truth! In my work with adults (engineers, priests, musicians, data analysts, and more) expressive arts approaches like sand tray therapy techniques, collage, painting, drawing, and more have helped people have epiphanies that they never experienced in traditional talk therapy (which is great btw!). By exploring the mind in a different way, we can unlock things hidden from ourselves!

— Garrett Graves, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in DeLand, FL

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

I am trained in expressive arts techniques which provide people with opportunities to connect with themselves through different mediums and in more abstract ways. I use a technique called PeaceLove to help people safely create an understanding of what brings them peace of mind by reaching that state through artistic expressions.

— Kate St. Onge, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Burlington, CT

As an artist myself combined with my undergraduate concentration in the psychology of art and artists, I recognize art as being a powerful tool for positive mental health changes. I enjoy the process of exploring and discovering artistic voices and how to tell your story through expression.

— Michael Nolan, Therapist in New York, NY

While I work remotely I do a great deal of art therapy with clients who are interested. I send materials to clients homes, as well as do art therapy with material individuals have at home.

— Rachael Rosenberg, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Los altos, CA

Creativity like visual and 3D arts, writing, poetry, and movement can all be amazing ways to express and explore emotion, challenge our inner critics, and flex our ability to imagine new possibilities.

— Adrian Eraslan, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Oakland, CA

Expressive Art Therapy is a multi-modal approach to heal; it is an adjunct I use to more traditional methods. It may include music, writing, dance, art and more.

— Michelle North, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Encinitas, CA

I held certification for Music Therapist from 2006-2021; I continue to bring my creative arts therapy background into my work through the Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music (Level II). I find this work personally profound, as music creates a container to explore our deepest, unconscious selves through imagery. I am happy to talk with you more, as this is a niche field.

— Deanna Villagran, Counselor in Flourtown, PA