Expressive Arts Therapy Is:
The use of various creative arts therapy modalities as artistic expression
for mental health, personal growth, human development, and wellness, including cultural studies, uses, and origins. Use of
play therapy, art, music, body awareness, movement, creative dramatics, sand-play, bibliotherapy, and puppetry in counseling.
Art as a means of better understanding life experiences and as a way to communicate ideas about the world to other
human beings. Art making as a reflection of the artist's individual consciousness and in the service of transformation
Expressive Arts Therapy Modalities & Methods:
Music therapy is an allied health profession and one of the expressive therapies, consisting
of an interpersonal process in which a trained music therapist uses music and all of its facets—physical, emotional,
mental, social, aesthetic, and spiritual—to help clients to improve or maintain their health. Music therapists primarily
help clients improve their health across various domains (e.g., cognitive functioning, motor skills, emotional and affective
development, behavior and social skills, and quality of life) by using music experiences (e.g., free improvisation, singing,
songwriting, listening to and discussing music, moving to music) to achieve treatment goals and objectives. It is considered
both an art and a science, with a qualitative and quantitative research literature base incorporating areas such as clinical
therapy, biomusicology, musical acoustics, music theory, psychoacoustics, embodied music cognition, aesthetics of music, and
comparative musicology. Referrals to music therapy services may be made by other health care professionals such as physicians,
psychologists, physical therapists, and occupational therapists. Clients can also choose to pursue music therapy services
without a referral (i.e., self-referral).
Music therapists are found in nearly every area of the helping professions. Some commonly
found practices include developmental work (communication, motor skills, etc.) with individuals with special needs, songwriting
and listening in reminiscence/orientation work with the elderly, processing and relaxation work, and rhythmic entrainment
for physical rehabilitation in stroke victims. Music therapy is also used in some medical hospitals, cancer centers, schools,
alcohol and drug recovery programs, psychiatric hospitals, and correctional facilities.
The Turco-Persian psychologist and music
theorist al-Farabi (872–950), known as "Alpharabius" in Europe, dealt with music therapy in his treatise Meanings of
the Intellect, where he discussed the therapeutic effects of music on the soul. Robert Burton wrote in the 17th century
in his classic work, The Anatomy of Melancholy, that music and dance were critical in treating mental illness, especially
Music has been used as a healing force for centuries. Music therapy goes back to biblical times, when
David played the harp to rid King Saul of a bad spirit. As early as 400 B.C., Hippocrates, Greek father of medicine, played
music for his mental patients. Aristotle described music as a force that purified the emotions. In the thirteenth century,
Arab hospitals contained music-rooms for the benefit of the patients. In the United States, Native American medicine men
often employed chants and dances as a method of healing patients. Music therapy as we know it began in the aftermath of
World Wars I and II. Musicians would travel to hospitals, particularly in the United Kingdom, and play music for soldiers
suffering from war-related emotional and physical trauma.
Approaches used in music therapy that have emerged from the field of education
include Orff-Schulwerk (Orff), Dalcroze Eurhythmics, and Kodaly. Two models that developed directly out of music therapy are
Nordoff-Robbins and the Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music.
Music therapists may work with individuals who have
behavioral-emotional disorders. To meet the needs of this population, music therapists have taken current psychological
theories and used them as a basis for different types of music therapy. Different models include behavioral therapy, cognitive
behavioral therapy, and psychodynamic therapy.
One therapy model based on neuroscience, called "neurological music therapy"
(NMT), is "based on a neuroscience model of music perception and production, and the influence of music on functional changes
in non-musical brain and behavior functions." In other words, NMT studies how the brain is without music, how the brain
is with music, measures the differences, and uses these differences to cause changes in the brain through music that will
eventually affect the client non-musically. As one researcher, Dr. Thaut, said: "The brain that engages in music is changed
by engaging in music." NMT trains motor responses (i.e. tapping foot or fingers, head movement, etc.) to better help clients
develop motor skills that help "entrain the timing of muscle activation patterns".
"(a)rt therapy is the therapeutic use of art making, within a professional
relationship, by people who experience illness, trauma or challenges in living, and by people who seek personal development.
Through creating art and reflecting on the art products and processes, people can increase awareness of self and others cope
with symptoms, stress and traumatic experiences; enhance cognitive abilities; and enjoy the life-affirming pleasures of making
Dance & Movement Therapy
Dance therapy, or dance movement therapy is the psychotherapeutic use of movement
and dance for emotional, cognitive, social, behavioral and physical conditions. As a form of expressive therapy, DMT is
founded on the basis that movement and emotion are directly related. The ultimate purpose of DMT is to find a healthy balance
and sense of wholeness
(written dramatherapy in the UK) is the use
of theatre techniques to facilitate personal growth and promote mental health. Dramatherapy is used in a wide variety of settings,
including hospitals, schools, mental health centers, prisons, and businesses. Drama Therapy, as a form of Expressive Arts
Therapy, (also known as Expressive Therapy), exists in many forms and can be applicable to individuals, couples, families,
and various groups.
Poetry therapists use all forms of literature and the language arts, and we are united by our love of
words, and our passion for enhancing the lives of others and ourselves.
It may be used as a primary
therapy or an ancillary therapy. A trained poetry therapist actively engages
identify issues and express feelings, and empowers clients to transform life issues
through the use of the language arts.
Writing Therapy/Journal Writing
An exploration of writing and the therapeutic healing benefits. Using the written
word to enhance healing change as well as for self-care.
Writing therapy is a form of expressive therapy that
uses the act of writing and processing the written word as therapy. Writing therapy posits that writing one's feelings gradually
eases feelings of emotional trauma Writing therapeutically can take place individually or in a group and it can be administered
in person with a therapist or remotely through mailing or the Internet.
The field of
writing therapy includes many practitioners in a variety of settings. The therapy is usually administered by a therapist or
counsellor. Several interventions exist online. Writing group leaders also work in hospitals with patients dealing with mental
and physical illnesses. In university departments they aid student self-awareness and self-development. When administered
at a distance, it is useful for those who prefer to remain personally anonymous and are not ready to disclose their most private
thoughts and anxieties in a face-to-face situation.
As with most forms of therapy,
writing therapy is adapted and used to work with a wide range of psychoneurotic illnesses, including bereavement, desertion
and abuse. Many of these interventions take the form of classes where clients write on specific themes chosen by their therapist
or counsellor. Assignments may include writing unsent letters to selected individuals, alive or dead, followed by imagined
replies from the recipient or parts of the patient's body, or a dialogue with the recovering alcoholic's bottle of alcohol.
Dreamwork / Dream Groups
Dream groups work
together with dreams, u
sing dreams as source in an expressive way
and studying possible meanings of dreams based on Jungian and Gestalt principles.
using discussion and texts, such as,
"The Art of Dreaming" by Joan or Jill Millik.
Movement based on the concepts of centering, concentration, control, precision, breath, and flow, incorporating aspects
of Yoga, Ballet, and Pilates.
Music as Medicine and Mysticism
An investigation of spiritual and healing philosophies and uses of music as medicine
in both historical and contemporary perspectives. The relationship between aesthetics of music as therapy from a multi-cultural
and historical perspective..
Use of rhythm as therapy. African and Native American traditions, including study
of African, Afro Latin, and Native American rhythms, song, call and response chants, rhythms, and invocations.
Drumming, Poetry, & Movement as Dreamwork
One person recites the poetry of group dreams, while others perform the words and meanings
Dreams as Expressive Art: using dance, music, or visual art done in groups or one-on-one
Use of dream symbols as a non-verbal means of accessing our deeper selves to express & heal
without left brain analysing. Allowing
dreams to reveal questions, understanding, and expression of our deeper selves
and as an opportunity to process