I’ve never talked to anyone. I’m used to handling things on my own. Aren’t people who go to therapy weak?
Not at all. People who ask for help know when they need it and have the courage to reach out. Everyone needs help now and then. In our work together, I’ll help you explore and identify your strengths and how to implement them to reduce the influence of the problems you are facing.
What’s the difference between talking to you or my best friend or family?
The difference is between someone who can do something, and someone who has the training and experience to do that same thing professionally. A mental health professional can help you approach your situation in a new way– teach you new skills, gain different perspectives, listen to you without judgment or expectations, and help you listen to yourself. Furthermore, counseling is completely confidential. You won’t have to worry about others “knowing my business.” Lastly, if your situation provokes a great deal of negative emotion, and you’ve been confiding in a friend or family member, there is the risk that once you are feeling better you could start avoiding that person so you aren’t reminded of this difficult time in your life.
Why shouldn’t I just take medication?
Medication can be effective but it alone cannot solve all issues. Sometimes medication is needed in conjunction with counseling. Our work together is designed to explore and unpack the problems you are experiencing and expand on your strengths that can help you accomplish your personal goals.
How does it work? What do I have to do in sessions?
Because each person has different issues and goals for counseling, it will be different depending on the individual. I tailor my therapeutic approach to your specific needs.
How long will it take?
Unfortunately, this is not possible to say in a general FAQs page. Everyone’s circumstances are unique to them and the length of time counseling can take to allow you to accomplish your goals depends on your desire for personal development, your commitment, and the factors that are driving you to seek counseling in the first place.
I want to get the most out of therapy. What can I do to help?
I am so glad you are dedicated to getting the most out of your sessions. Your active participation and dedication will be crucial to your success.
About Creative and Expressive Arts Therapy
The International Expressive Arts Therapy Association (IEATA) defines Expressive Arts Therapy as a combination of “the visual arts, movement, drama, music, writing and other creative processes to foster deep personal growth and community development. IEATA encourages an evolving multimodal approach within psychology, organizational development, community arts and education. By integrating the arts processes and allowing one to flow into another, we gain access to our inner resources for healing, clarity, illumination and creativity.”
The American Art Therapy Association defines Art therapy as “an integrative mental health and human services profession that enriches the lives of individuals, families, and communities through active art-making, creative process, applied psychological theory, and human experience within a psychotherapeutic relationship. Art Therapy, facilitated by a professional art therapist, effectively supports personal and relational treatment goals as well as community concerns. Art Therapy is used to improve cognitive and sensory-motor functions, foster self-esteem and self-awareness, cultivate emotional resilience, promote insight, enhance social skills, reduce and resolve conflicts and distress, and advance societal and ecological change. Art therapists are master-level clinicians who work with people of all ages across a broad spectrum of practice. Guided by ethical standards and scope of practice, their education and supervised training prepares them for culturally proficient work with diverse populations in a variety of settings. Honoring individuals’ values and beliefs, art therapists work with people who are challenged with medical and mental health problems, as well as individuals seeking emotional, creative, and spiritual growth. Through integrative methods, art therapy engages the mind, body, and spirit in ways that are distinct from verbal articulation alone. Kinesthetic, sensory, perceptual, and symbolic opportunities invite alternative modes of receptive and expressive communication, which can circumvent the limitations of language. Visual and symbolic expression gives voice to experience, and empowers individual, communal, and societal transformation.
The American Music Therapy Association defines Music therapy as “the clinical & evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program. Music therapy interventions can address a variety of healthcare & educational goals: promote wellness, manage stress, alleviate pain, express feelings, enhance memory, improve communication, promote physical rehabilitation, and more.”
Music therapists assess emotional well-being, physical health, social functioning, communication abilities, and cognitive skills through musical responses; design music sessions for individuals and groups based on client needs using music improvisation, receptive music listening, song writing, lyric discussion, music and imagery, music performance, and learning through music; participate in interdisciplinary treatment planning, ongoing evaluation, and follow up. Children, adolescents, adults, and the elderly with mental health needs, developmental and learning disabilities, Alzheimer’s disease and other aging related conditions, substance abuse problems, brain injuries, physical disabilities, and acute and chronic pain, including mothers in labor. A common misconception is that that the client or patient has to have some particular music ability to benefit from music therapy — they do not. That there is one particular style of music that is more therapeutic than all the rest — this is not the case. All styles of music can be useful in effecting change in a client or patient’s life. The individual’s preferences, circumstances and need for treatment, and the client or patient’s goals help to determine the types of music a music therapist may use.
The North American Drama Therapy Association defines Drama therapy as “an embodied practice that is active and experiential. This approach can provide the context for participants to tell their stories, set goals and solve problems, express feelings, or achieve catharsis. Through drama, the depth and breadth of inner experience can be actively explored and interpersonal relationship skills can be enhanced.”
Drama therapy uses play, embodiment, projection, role, story, metaphor, empathy, distancing, witnessing, performance, and improvisation to help people make meaningful change. A drama therapist first assesses a client’s needs and then considers approaches that might best meet those needs. Drama therapy can take many forms depending on individual and group needs, skill and ability levels, interests, and therapeutic goals. Processes and techniques may include improvisations, theater games, storytelling, and enactment. Many drama therapists make use of text, performance, or ritual to enrich the therapeutic and creative process. The theoretical foundation of drama therapy lies in drama, theater, psychology, psychotherapy, anthropology, play, and interactive and creative processes. Drama therapy is beneficial for individuals, families, and communities struggling with transition, loss, social stigmatization, isolation, and conflict. It is an effective option for the treatment and prevention of anxiety, depression, and addiction, among other conditions. Drama therapy can promote positive changes in mood, insight, and empathy, and it can facilitates healthy relationships.
The American Dance Therapy Association defines dance and movement therapy as “the psychotherapeutic use of movement to promote emotional, social, cognitive and physical integration of the individual, for the purpose of improve health and well-being.” Dance and movement therapy relies on the following premises:
Movement is a language, our first language. Nonverbal and movement communication begins in utero and continues throughout the lifespan. Dance/movement therapists believe that nonverbal language is as important as verbal language and use both forms of communication in the therapeutic process.
Mind, body, and spirit are interconnected.
Movement can be functional, communicative, developmental, and expressive. Dance/movement therapists observe, assess, and intervene by looking at movement, through these lenses, as it emerges in the therapeutic relationship in the therapeutic session.
Movement is both an assessment tool and a primary mode of intervention.
Using these premises to guide their work, dance/movement therapists use body movement, the core component of dance, as the primary inroad to their psychotherapeutic work. Dance/movement therapists approach individual, couple, family, and group sessions by observing and assessing both their clients and their own movements, using verbal and nonverbal communication to create and implement interventions that will address the emotional, social, physical, and cognitive integration of an individual.
The Oxford dictionary defines Psychodrama as an “action method, often used in psychotherapy, in which clients use spontaneous dramatization, role-playing, and dramatic self-presentation to investigate and gain insight into their lives.” This approach uses techniques such as role reversal, doubling, mirroring, soliloquy, and more. A proper psychodrama is structured with a warm-up, the action, and then followed by sharing and processing. Psychodrama can help individuals to gain perspective, rehearse changes, create goal trajectory, and achieve catharsis.
According to Psychology Today, Experiential therapy is a “therapeutic technique that uses expressive tools and activities, such as role-playing or acting, props, arts and crafts, music, animal care, guided imagery, or various forms of recreation to re-enact and re-experience emotional situations from past and recent relationships. The client focuses on the activities and, through the experience, begins to identify emotions associated with success, disappointment, responsibility, and self-esteem. Under the guidance of a trained experiential therapist, the client can begin to release and explore negative feelings of anger, hurt, or shame as they relate to past experiences that may have been blocked or still linger.”
The following FAQs are credited to the Appalachian State University page for the Expressive Arts Therapy program.
What is the connection between expressive arts and therapy?
In some sense, all problems in living can be thought of as a failure of the imagination, an inability to envision solutions, garner resources, or initiate movement out of a place of restriction. Expressive arts therapy emphasizes artistic experience as a tool for self-discovery and self-expression, for the integration of physical, mental, emotional and social functioning, and for building community.
How does expressive arts therapy differ from traditional art therapies?
Whereas traditional single modality arts-based approaches, (such as dance therapy, music therapy, drama therapy, art therapy and poetry therapy) emphasize the particular modality, expressive arts therapy integrates and embraces all the modalities, sometimes layering several art modalities in one session. The emphasis is on the healing power of the artistic experience itself, the human capacity to give shape and form to thoughts, emotions and life experience.
Can expressive arts therapy be incorporated into other methods of therapy?
The expressive arts philosophy and way of working integrate well with many approaches. However, simply using expressive art activities such as having a client move or draw does not constitute expressive arts therapy.