What is Expressive Arts?
What is expressive arts?
Expressive arts therapy combines psychology and the creative process to promote emotional
growth and healing. This multi-arts, or intermodal, approach to psychotherapy and counseling uses our inborn desire to create—be it music, theater, poetry, dance, or other artistic form—as a therapeutic tool to help initiate change.The difference between expressive arts therapy and art therapy is that expressive arts therapy draws from a variety of art forms, while art therapy tends to be based on one particular art form.
Expressive arts is soul food. It nourishes and heals while also rejuvenating and awakening the senses in ways that no other process truly does. It invites community and engagement, two necessities of life that are often overlooked and under appreciated- especially in Western society. It is the combination of passion, expression, creativity, ritual, process and awakening. It allows space to process, unravel and heal. There is no judgement or criticism in Expressive Arts. There is no "that looks pretty" or "you're so talented." It's about feeling, not about perfection. Our tagline would read: "It's about the process, not the product." It's a space to return to yourself, your primal instincts, your innate humanness. It's home, and it's available to anyone willing to accept the invitation.
I believe that connecting with the natural world is vital for the arts to truly take shape and heal us. I'm currently reading a book titled, "The Body Keep The Score" that shares that drumming and dancing are two of the most successful activities that calm the mind and support positive transformation to our over all psyche and mental health. Why? Because they are primal acts that enhance rhythm in the nervous system and provides rhythm and balance in this often unsettling world. Life is always changing. Our emotions, thoughts, homes, relationships, jobs etc are always changing. We are a product of the bigger picture, and we have to accept and allow change to flow in order to find peace and clarity amidst the chaos. When a leaf from a tree turns brown and falls to the ground we don't mourn for the loss because we know a new leaf will emerge come Spring. Our lives are ever changing, and that's the only constant that life really offers. My journey as an Expressive Arts student has allowed me to accept change and appreciate the journey that unfolds in often difficult and uncomfortable times. We aren't meant to be stagnate creatures- we are conditioned to wander and explore and live amongst the chaos that life often presents us with. I am deeply inspired by the natural art of Andy Goldsworthy in the sense that it reminds me that impermanence can be a blessing. We, as humans, must allow ourselves to be comfortable with letting go and letting the movement of our own journey wither and flourish all in the same breath. Expressive Arts gives me a safe space to deeply feel and welcome the unexpected. It is no coincidence that the human brain resembles that of the galaxies beyond us. We are told we are made of stardust, and science now confirms this is more than just a pretty metaphor. Expressive Arts allows us to tap into that cosmic, majestic power that we often overlook. It's more than just a painting or a fine drawing- it's our bodies connecting with the forces among us and welcoming in both the light and the dark and learning to appreciate all that is offered to us.