Expressive art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses self-expression in the form of art, movement, writing, poems, drama, or storytelling. The baseline for expressive art therapy is that all people have the capacity to express themselves creatively and that this expression can lead to healing from emotional difficulties, physical symptoms, or mental illness. In expressive art therapy sessions, the client generally feels safe to communicate through creative means. This can help facilitate more open discussion about sensitive issues in an atmosphere that is supportive for the client.
Did You Know?
Expressive art therapy is different from art therapy. Whereas art therapy is based on a specific art form, expressive art therapy uses a variety of different art forms.
Frequently Asked Questions:
When is expressive art therapy used?
Expressive art therapy can be helpful for children and adults, in an individual, group, and intensive outpatient program (IOP) setting. It can be used to assist with a variety of mental health diagnoses, such as trauma or anxiety. It has also been found to be helpful for those coping with chronic illness, physical disabilities, and substance use. To learn more about how expressive art therapy can help you, schedule a consultation with our team at Transitions Counseling in Glendale, North Phoenix, South Mountain, or Chandler. Our team is also available for telehealth appointments.
What are some expressive art therapy techniques?
There are a variety of expressive art therapy techniques that may be used, such as:
- Writing (poems or journals)
- Clay sculpting
- Role playing
- Painting or finger painting
- Listening to music
- Mandala coloring
- Mosaic painting
- Mask making
How does expressive art therapy work?
Expressive art therapy is based on the Greek concept of poiesis, which describes the natural process of moving from reality into the world of creativity. The idea is that creativity is a pathway to thoughts and feelings. Therefore, expressive art therapy works by creating a supportive environment in which the client is encouraged to communicate through non-verbal means. The therapist acts as a guide, helping the client navigate their own emotional reactions to the art and/or creative process, which can lead to greater self-awareness and insight. Through art making, clients can explore difficult memories or emotions in ways that are more comfortable than talking about them directly because it is less threatening.