From cave painting to dancing around fire, singing, playing drums to story telling, the arts have been an integral part of life for humans throughout history. When people ask me “what is Expressive Art Therapy?” I explain to them that it is a discipline that is ingrained in us for generations. It is a process that uses arts for discovery and change. It is a primary tool for self-actualization and can be used for developing effective methods for helping and healing.
Even though there are many different ways to facilitate Expressive Arts, there are often used as a part of the treatment strategy for a wide variety of behavioral, emotional, and social conditions. Expressive arts is holistic and is rooted in a humanistic perspective — it illuminates diversity as gift.
For me, Expressive Arts are a way to distress, expressing myself without any fear of judgment, and reflecting on my life. For example, the other day I decide to try an intuitive painting. As I was staring at the white canvas and listening to a soothing sound of flutes, I had no idea what the paining was going to look like. I started with gluing pieces of paper from a magazine into the canvas. I splashed some different colors of paints and smeared them all over the canvas. After an hour of playing with it, I started to see shapes that reminded me of rocks and mountains. I was really surprised that what came out of it was a wonderful memory of Southwest, the magnificent sceneries and feelings that I experienced while living in New Mexico. The experience brought me back to the enchanting land where my spirit could fly and make me feel free. I left the studio feeling relaxed and happy.
If you like to know how Expressive Arts influence our health, take a workshop — get hands-on and experience real-time work. If you live in the Oak Ridge, TN are, contact me for more information about classes and workshops I offer. You can also contact me via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone.
Johnson, M., & Lakoff, G. (1999). Philosophy in the flesh: The embodied mind and its
challenge to western thought. New York, NY: Basic Books.
Siegel, D.J., (2008). The neurobiology of “we” how relationships, the mind, and the brain interact to shape who we are.
The International Expressive Arts Therapy Association.