In all societies ancient to the present, the arts and ritual have played an essential role in enabling human beings to make sense of their world, to live with and heal from suffering that comes with being human, and to celebrate life and nature with joy, gratitude and reverence.
Expressive Arts Therapy is an exploration of expression through the arts combined with client-centered psychotherapy (talk therapy) to help the client cultivate the experience of joy, creativity, calm and a solid sense of self worth in the face of life's challenges.
An exploration of sensation and imagery, is supported through movement, visual art, music, poetry, sound and/or story-telling. This exploration facilitates access to non-verbal, confusing, and often unconscious material. What emerges can offer insight, an increased body and emotional awareness, and can reveal a well of inner creative resources.
The basic process, not always followed in just one session, or sequentially, is as follows:
Filling in: Sharing what you may be dealing with and sometimes setting an intention for the work.
Decentering: Moving away from the issue(s), out of the head and into a body based creative process.
Aesthetic Analysis: Describing in detail what is emerging and describing the experience of the process.
Harvesting: Reflecting on how the process might relate to what was shared in the filling in. What insights and tools might you take away based on the images that emerged and your experience of the process?
The work is inherently a mindful practice where the focus of attention is the artistic process. I encourage the adoption of non-judgement, gentle curiosity, acceptance of each moment as it is, and the practice of redirecting the attention to the process.
In a unique connection with the therapist and the emerging imagery, the client begins to rewire his or her experience of relationship, to deepen a sense of inner security and self worth, to become more embodied, creative, mindful and present, and to reshape his or her response to others, life, and the world around.
All content copyright Sundance Expressive Arts 2014 unless where otherwise noted.