Expressive Art Therapy | Healing souls through art
What is expressive arts therapy?
Expressive arts therapy uses a combination of psychology and creative processes to promote emotional growth and healing. Expressive art therapy is a multi-arts or intermodal form of counseling and psychotherapy that uses our instinctive desire to create as a therapeutic tool to help initiate change within oneself. The art one creates during expressive arts therapy can be anything from music to theater to poetry to dance; or any other art form. The intermodal approach is what makes expressive art therapy so unique, by drawing from a variety of art forms, it allows a patient to truly express themselves in any way that they see fit. A patient, with the help of their therapist, explores their reactions, responses, and insights that they gain through the process of creation.
How does it work?
Expressive arts therapy focuses on four major areas: expression, imagination, active participation, and the mind-body connection. It gives a person seeking help, many different approaches and ways to achieve meaning, clarity, or anything else they may be searching for in therapy. Expressive art therapy does not require artistic ability because the focus is not so much on the result of what one creates, but the process by which they use to create their art or the journey that they take to create.
When you allow yourself to fully indulge in the creation of art, you are allowing yourself to become vulnerable, and share your deepest emotions with the world. Art comes from a deeply emotional place, the emotions that can be stirred in the act of creation allows you to go on a journey of self-discovery and understanding. By using your senses, you are nurturing the mind-body connection and using your imagination to support healing. Because the use of expressive art therapy is unique to every person who is seeking treatment, the creativity you use becomes the pathway to self-expression and therefore expressive art therapy can be the pathway to a healthier mind, by increasing your mental and emotional health.
When is it used?
Expressive art therapy can be used to help people of all different ages and genders, in groups or on an individual basis. The goal is to create personal growth and transformation by using many different forms of art to express yourself. It can be used in a variety instance; for example, a child suffering from a chronic illness can use expressive art therapy to help them express themselves, reduce stress, and find meaning in their current health situation. Or an adult who needs help coping with social changes or high levels of stress can use expressive art therapy to make any transitions easier and help lower any stress or anxiety a person may be facing. It can also be used to help treat mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as many others. Expressive art therapy can help to improve your relationship with yourself and then that can result in improved personal relationships with family and friends as well.
What happens during an expressive art therapy session?
The utilization of multiple senses to explore the inner and outer world, and bridges the gap between the two, is an important part of an expressive art therapy session. The exploration is done by using a variety of art forms as a way to communicate your thoughts and feelings. Every expressive art therapy session is unique to each patient because everyone’s needs are different. Someone who is new to expressive art therapy may start with something simple, like journaling or poetry. Then, gradually as they get more comfortable they may start using dance or drama to help express themselves.
Different modalities of art can be used throughout therapeutic sessions and the use of each is determined by the strength, timing, pacing, and readiness of the person in therapy. You and your therapist will highlight and analyze your problems that arise during the process of creating the art. Expressive art therapy gives you a way to use the nonverbal language of creation to help communicate your deepest thoughts and feelings. These thoughts and feelings may not have been obvious to you or your therapist from just talking or thinking about them.
How does it benefit individuals?
Expressive art therapy makes a connection between the conscious and unconscious mind. The benefit of expressive arts therapy for the individual varies for each person being treated, and it can be used to enhance so many different areas of a person’s life. By focusing on the process rather than the result, expressive art therapy gives patients the ability to discover new insights and meaning for their life. It can be used to enhance emotional, spiritual, cognitive, and physical well-being. It makes it easier to cope with any issues a person may be facing and helps them to be more in touch with their own feelings. The journey of self-expression opens the door to self-discovery and a stronger understanding of oneself.
How is it different than other healing techniques?
Expressive arts therapy is a unique form of therapy. It digs deeper and transcends traditional talk therapy because it acknowledges that each person’s process is unique and it allows for variation within treatment depending on each person’s need. It is different than traditional art therapy because it utilizes a variety of art forms, where art therapy usually just focuses on one. For example, art therapy would use just music therapy or drama therapy and expressive art therapy might use both of those art forms and more.
How is Artscape using expressive arts therapy to heal the souls of many?
Artscape understands that every emotion that we feel relates to our mental well-being. Our mental well-being dictates our actions and emotions. It is a never-ending focus on the connection between our mind and our body. Artscape understands that in order to create optimal wellness, you have to care for your mind as well as your body. Artscape is using expressive arts therapy “to help individuals, in any circumstance or situation, irrespective of age and gender, to become aware of and make a choice towards pursuing a healthy and fulfilling life.
The Sessions allow beneficiaries to connect with their own self, explore their emotions, become self – reliant, belong and contribute positively to the community and environment.” They use expressive art therapy to help people in three different focus areas:
- Care for Cancer is a program used to help cancer patients, caregivers, and survivors, a way to engage with and express their emotions, find ways to relax and achieve mental well-being despite any circumstances they may face.
- Beyond Academics is a program for school going children to learn how to connect to their inner-selves, not only understand values but also reflect them in their behaviors and attitudes, and contribute to society with good citizenship and ethics.
- Corporate Wellness is a program for working adults to help them cope with the stress of a workplace, engage with and express their emotions, and help them relax to attain a stable state of mental well-being through any circumstances.
They believe in helping each and every individual become the best version of themselves and make mental wellness a priority.