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Expressive Art Therapy

Most of us have already discovered some aspect of expressive arts as being helpful in our daily lives. You may doodle as you speak on the phone and find it soothing.  You may write a personal journal and find that as you write, your feelings and ideas change.  Maybe you write down your dreams and look for patterns and symbols. Or perhaps you sing while you drive to work or go for long walks.  These exemplify self-expression through movement, sound, writing and art to alter your state of being. They are ways to release your feelings, clear your mind, raise your spirits and bring yourself into high states of consciousness.  The process is therapeutic. 

Part of the psychotherapeutic process is to awaken the creative life-force energy.  Therefore, creativity and therapy overlap.  What is creative is frequently therapeutic. What is therapeutic is frequently a creative process.  Having integrated the creative arts into my therapeutic practice, I have found it to facilitate growth and healing.  Expressive arts therapy uses various arts such as movement based therapy, art therapy and music therapy.  These terms can also include therapy through journal writing, poetry, guided imagery and meditation.  It's not about creating a pretty picture or dancing for the stage.  It is not a poem written and rewritten to perfection.  When using the arts for self-healing or therapeutic purposes, we use it to let go, to express and to release.

 Expressive art therapy is also a key psychotherapeutic strategy when addressing traumatic stress. Studies tracking brain changes during these engagements point to an alteration in brain function which may contribute to the relearning of key skills and mental, emotional and physical healing.  There is clear evidence of the positive effects of expressive therapies in helping treat children and adults who have experienced trauma, cancer patients, people with post-traumatic stress disorder and more.  Expressive therapies allow individuals with PTSD to experience and express their thoughts and feelings without necessarily having to verbalize their trauma or confront their trauma if they are not ready.  This type of therapy also focuses on creating an environment in which the client feels safe, and then providing an expressive medium that does not threaten that feeling of safety.

Tree of Life Holistic Wellness uses expressive art therapy with children, adolescents and adults to nurture deep personal growth and transformation.  Throughout the process you will learn new and different ways to use the mostly nonverbal language of creativity to communicate inner feelings that were not previously available to you by simply thinking or talking about them.  Tree of Life Holistic Wellness will help you communicate your feelings about the process and accomplishment of art making, and together, we will use the creative process to highlight and analyze your problems and issues.  Your creative process will become your road to emotional health. 

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