Expressive arts is an arts-based approach that focuses on process as opposed to product, and uses multiple arts modalities in a single session to open paths of permission for greater spontaneous, authentic and creative expression.
…because “Expression is itself transformation.” (Stephen K. Levine)
The expressive arts approach fosters self awareness and offers opportunities for self regulation. It is a strength-based approach that aims to help participants become aware of and build new internal resources for greater emotional resilience.
It encourages participants to stay curious and open to their moment-to-moment encounters with the arts materials and modalities (e.g., visual, writing, drama, music, movement).
Through these moment-to-moment encounters in that space where imagination, creativity and play intersect, participants also encounter all that makes up their sense of Self (values, beliefs, thoughts, emotions, body sensations, etc.). It is in this space where we give ourselves permission to BE, that possibilities yet unknown can begin to emerge and shifts in perception can begin to take form.
In expressive arts sessions, invitations are offered in ways that give participants an opportunity to explore their reactions, impulses, responses, and insights through their encounters with the arts materials and the imaginal seeds offered as windows into the imagination.
Expressive arts therapy is a multimodal and intermodal (uses multiple art modalities in a single session) arts-based therapeutic approach that focuses on process rather than product.
Expressive arts therapy transcends traditional talk-therapy. Through the use of multiple forms of creative and spontaneous expression in a single session (e.g., visual arts, drama, music, voice, dance/movement, poetry/creative writing, play), expressive arts therapy offers a deepening into the non-verbal aspects of self, fostering increased awareness, encouraging emotional growth, promoting well-being and enhancing relationships with self and others.
Expressive arts therapy is a trauma-informed, polyvagal informed, person-centred and healing-centred engagement approach that is strength based and non pathologizing.
The expressive arts therapy approach offers a gentle yet transformative way to return to the senses, regulate emotions, rewire neural pathways, gain deeper self knowledge and awareness, and metabolize difficult emotional material.
In groups, the expressive arts approach can offer opportunities for connection, compassion and an experience of shared common humanity.
No arts experience is needed to engage in expressive arts processes and therapies. Process over product is sought. The expressive arts approach is premised on the notion of “high sensitivity and low skill”.
Working within the realm of the imagination, the expressive arts approach offers opportunities to open paths of permission in which the individual (whether alone or in a group) can experience the world and him/her/they self differently, in ways that moves them outside their known worldview into altered and expanded states of consciousness that can offer important breakthroughs and paradigm shifts. Via the infinite power of imagination, participants can move beyond their fixed reality and offer perspectives that might not otherwise have been available to them. In this space, an openness to curiosity and to what else might be possible emerges.