The use of the five art disciplines dance, drama, music, visual arts, and poetry to help individuals discover themselves through spontaneous art is known as Expressive Art. Expressive Art Therapy uses the expression through art instead of a specific discipline to treat individuals. The approach can be changed depending on the needs of the individuals being treated. Expressive Art therapy is also known as creative arts therapy or just art therapy, and enables people to understand emotions through art and the creative process.
Each artistic discipline draws on the special strengths to bridge the gap between the here and now and the world of imagination. A professional trained in art and therapy is able to track and follow the non-verbal implications. Then, verbal reflection is used to understand the process and the final art produced. By participating in such artistic activity, the artist takes part in their own healing using a form of their own psyche. It comes from within, instead of being imposed from outside.
Expressive Therapies are the latest tools for working with troubled people. These therapies allow the patient to reach into their own sub-conscious at their speed and level, as opposed to conventional cognitive or linguistic methods. Such therapies are self-healing and non-intrusive. While they are not applicable in all cases, their effectiveness is definitely growing across all age levels. This is the reason Expressive Arts have come in the lime light.
Expressive Arts Education
The education of Expressive Arts therapists is not the same as the other creative arts therapists. The expressive arts therapy is art-based as opposed to being psychology-based and instead of a couch, the process of the art making is the medium of treatment. An expressive arts therapist is influenced by philosophy, psychology, and studio art. Expressive Arts therapists are able to work in varied settings like medical hospitals, community centres, business settings, and schools. The International Expressive Arts Therapy Association (IEATA) is the professional association that supervises the educational guidelines and professional registrations. The Australian and New Zealand National Art Therapy Association (ANZATA) works actively on clinical issues and sets up standards for Art therapy training, registration, and practice. The organization also provides support to Art therapy professionals and other people interested in this area of study. They provide literature on research, standards, various publications, and employment opportunities.
There are several graduate and undergraduate schools in Australia that offer Expressive Arts programs. The University of Western Sydney, La Trobe University, University of Queensland, and the Melbourne Institute for Experiential and Creative Arts Therapy offer it, to name a few.
Art therapy can help different people achieve different things. It can be used as a form of counselling, healing, treatment, and psychotherapy. In more general terms, it can be used to help one manage their inner-self. It enables an individual to get a better understanding of themselves. The practice is closely related to family therapies and marriage or mental health counselling.
Art therapists help their patients reach better judgment, cope with stress, enhance cognitive abilities, maintain better relationships with friends and family, and generally, lead a fuller life. The professionals in the field are trained in both art and therapy and usually hold a Master’s Degree in art therapy, counselling, or some other related field.