Expressive Arts Therapy

Expressive arts therapy is an imaginative alternative to explore life's joys and challenges through the arts. Using a right-brain approach, you can endeavour to shape your world while fully engaging the body and the senses using visual arts, movement, music, drama and writing. You are encouraged to follow your creative flow as it weaves from one art form into another. Discover what is evoked by the emerging image, enhance your response-ability in the moment and make sense of your world anew.

No background in the arts is needed...just a sense of curiosity.

Everyone has the innate capacity to generate rich imagery as experienced in the vivid realm of dreams. With its unique ability to capture an image, the arts can similarly articulate what otherwise might be impossible to express. The emerging image is often unexpected, providing a natural opportunity to encounter the unknown.

Expressive arts therapy is ideal for those seeking a strengths based, action oriented and more non-verbal approach in therapy. The art making process enables you to make simple choices and create something concrete in the here and now. It also steeps you in a rich sensory experience that leads to greater embodiment, increased awareness around self-regulation and a meaningful outlet for powerful emotions.

The relationship between you and the therapist is key. Playing together through the arts naturally builds a robust sense of safety and trust. Expressive arts therapy provides the opportunity to be witnessed, get visceral feedback and recognition by the therapist while participating in a co-creative process. As the expert of your own experience, you are the one to make sense of the emerging art, guided by the therapist as needed.

Reflecting upon the experience, you can explore what was sparked in the process and what resonates with your own story.  You might notice shifts in perception, connect to your emotions and experience an enhanced sense of congruence. Expressive arts therapy offers the rare opportunity to explore the transformative healing power of the arts by stoking the creative flame within you.


~ Submitted by Noriko Oka, MA, RCC

dRAW heart: expressive arts therapy 

Specific Techniques


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