Empathy and being nonjudgmental are core components of psychotherapy. Therapy can be seen as purchasing the service of empathy and compassion. Therapists also use different tools based on their approach. In expressive arts therapy these tools are different art modalities. The therapist uses art to support the healing process of the client. Art can be used to build a therapeutic relationship, to help he client get insight, to convey empathy and to facilitate the transformation the client wants and/or needs. Expressive arts therapists use writing, visual arts, movement, music and theater.
They may use these modalities separately or in combination with each other. For example: An expressive arts therapist can give a client who is dealing with anxiety the drawing of an empty body and ask the client to draw and color the movement of anxiety in her body. Then the therapist can invite the client to have a dialogue with the image: How old are you? When did you enter X’s (Xrepresents name of the client) life? How do you move in X’s psyche? What is your function? Afterwards the therapist can pick something from the dialogue and reflect it back to the client with movement.
Music is also a tool expressive art therapists use often. If the person struggles as she tries to express herself the therapist can ask her to bring in a song that expresses her current experience.
The therapist and the client listen to the song together and work together on understanding the client’s experience by using the lyrics and rhythm of the song.
Another art therapy technique is sandplay. The client picks out of hundreds of miniatures the ones that resonate with her at a given moment and places them into the sand tray.
If the client and the therapist are working on a specific issue the therapist can ask the client to pick objects that are related to the theme the client is working on. The therapist can also choose to be non-directive and help the client to follow the flow. Once the miniature toys are in the tray therapist and client talk about these toys.
In the blog there will be art therapy content. As it involves art and metaphor just expressing it with words cannot convey the depth and nature of the experience. Thus there will be images, videos, and art therapy techniques.