What is Expressive Arts Therapy?
Expressive Arts uses imagination and the arts to heal, transform, and explore. Because the arts engage the whole self, together we are often able to access resources and perspectives that had previously been invisible. Expressive arts can be very effective for people for whom talk therapy has been unsuccessful, as well as for children and families. Clients often report that this way of working allows the thinking mind to “get out of the way” to allow something new to emerge.
Similar in many ways to play therapies and other art therapies, expressive arts therapy uses multiple art forms including but not limited to clay, paint, drama, movement and sound. While we may stay in one art
How does it work?
At its core, expressive arts therapy is about coming deeper into the present moment and allowing the body / mind to heal itself. When we have endured trauma, have anxiety or are depressed, the mind can get in the way of being here now and by staying present with the body, we allow what’s present to emerge and to move through us. We build resilience by addressing what’s present, while also allowing the nervous system to complete its natural response to trauma. The processes and symbols that show up in the art-making can also have surprising messages for us. The difficulties we face in the art are similar to the difficulties we face in life, while at other times it is the art-making itself that allows things to shift.
Do I have to be an artist to benefit from Expressive Arts Therapy?
I work with kids, adults, and families with a wide range of artistic experience and ability. In fact, reclaiming one’s creativity is often a surprising and very healing side-effect of this work. Oftentimes people who are most resistant to the arts benefit from it enormously.
What should I expect in an Expressive Arts Therapy session?
Usually we begin by talking together, before moving into the art studio. Once we are in the studio, we might use any art forms including paint, sculpture, movement / dance, sound, storytelling and poetry. Finally, we step out and reflect on that experience, drawing connections back to what the client came in with. It’s also possible that we may talk for the duration of the session, especially at the beginning of working together.
Do we talk in an expressive arts therapy session?
Yes we do. It’s important that we discuss the difficulty before we move into the arts. In some sessions, particularly in the early stages of working together, we may even talk for the duration of the session.
Are you covered by my extended health insurance plan?
I am a Registered Therapeutic Counsellor with the Association of Cooperative Counselling Therapists of Canada and my services are covered by some extended insurance plans. Please contact your insurance company to find out if this is covered.
Several young Indigenous clients have been able to access support for through Jordan’s Principle with the support of their school. Please feel free to contact me about this.
Update: As of July, 2018, insurance plans with Sun Life that state that Clinical Counselling is covered will cover my services.
Normal session rates are $125/session, and I do offer a sliding scale as well. Please discuss with me before your session and I will do my best to ensure that therapy remains accessible to you.
What if I have more questions?
Please feel free to contact me either by email or phone.