Expressive Arts Therapy

“Art is a wound turned into light”

George Braque, 20th Century French artist

Expressive arts therapy is different because it integrates many techniques and incorporates a variety of tools instead of being limited to a single approach. It’s a process of self-discovery through any form of art that comes from an emotional experience. Children, when they first come to therapy are often defensive and refuse to share about their experiences. It is my task to be creative and to lower their defenses and provide them the emotional container to recognize, express and work through whatever needs to be processed.

"Painting Palette"

  • Art Therapy: This approach involves utilizing the visual arts—such as drawing, painting, and sculpting—to work through emotions, thoughts, or experiences.
  • Writing Therapy: This approach involves exploring thoughts and emotions through writing. For example, people may write in a journal about their life or create expressive works such as poems or fictional stories.
  • Drama Therapy: theater methods such as role-playing, voice work, storytelling, and movement can promote mental health and personal growth.
  • Music Therapy: This approach utilizes listening to or creating music to help improve mood and ease anxiety.


It’s a process of self-discovery through any form of art that comes from connecting to an emotional experience. The familiar and playful nature of art materials helps to facilitate the child’s engagement and they often find it relaxing and simply fun! It’s an expressive experience that allows children to view themselves in new ways and activates resources within.

“When using the arts for self-healing or therapeutic purposes, we are not concerned about the beauty of the visual art, the grammar and style of the writing, or the harmonic flow of the song. We use the arts to let go, to express, and to release. Also, we can gain insight by studying the symbolic and metaphoric messages. Our art speaks back to us if we take the time to let in those messages.” Natalie Rogers

Most of us have already discovered some aspect of expressive art as being helpful in our daily lives. You may doodle as you speak on the telephone and find it soothing. You may write a personal journal and find that as you write, your feelings and ideas change. Perhaps you write down your dreams and look for patterns and symbols. You may paint or sculpt as a hobby and realize the intensity of the experience transports you out of your everyday problems. Or perhaps you sing while you drive or go for long walks. These exemplify self-expression through movement, sound, writing, and art to alter your state of being. They are ways to release your feelings, clear your mind, raise your spirits, and bring yourself into higher states of consciousness. The process is therapeutic.