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expressive arts therapy

What does a session looks like?

Expressive Arts Therapy involves:

1) identifying the issue or theme that you'd like to work on

2) selecting the materials and activities you'd like to engage with

3) spending time in the process of creating art

4) deepening the process by engaging with the same themes using 2-3 different modalities

5) reflecting on and talking through the outcome of the session

Expressive Arts Therapy

What is Expressive Arts Therapy?

Expressive Arts Therapy uses the arts to facilitate self-expression, insight, and growth. It involves an intermodal approach, utilizing various art forms to help clients reconnect with their inner selves and resources.


Expressive Arts Therapists incorporate various forms of visual arts, drama, creative writing, and movement to aid clients in personal inquiry, creativity, and growth. These different art forms can help clients better understand and review their lives, making sense of difficult or traumatic experiences, sharing and processing their life stories, and reconciling relationships with family and other important people. 

How does Expressive Arts Therapy work?

This approach employs several art forms, but the essential focus is on using all of the senses to explore the inner and outer worlds. It is suitable for both children and adults, and can be used individually or in groups, to foster personal transformation and growth.  This therapy is particularly helpful for people who may have difficulty articulating their feelings verbally. 

Throughout the session, clients learn new and different ways to look at their situation and to communicate inner feelings that were not previously available through simply thinking or talking about them.


The process of creating can support a deeper understanding of experiences while also illuminating challenges and difficulties to promote healing. The therapy process is based on fostering creativity, not on the final result, so no background or art training is necessary to benefit from this expressive therapy. 


More Information

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Expressive Arts Therapy only for kids?

Not at all! Creating and discussing art with a therapist can help you anyone to process and see intense yet jumbled feelings and experiences more clearly. Not only is expressive art therapy good for processing, it can also support better communication skills and overall coping.

Who can benefit from Expressive Arts Therapy? 

Expressive Arts therapy Arts can be especially helpful for people who find it difficult to put thoughts and feelings into words. It is an approach that supports a deeper and more embodied understanding of painful feelings or experiences, including experiences of trauma.

Can Expressive Arts Therapy work for me even if nothing else has worked?

Definitely! Many clients who seek out Expressive Arts therapy have found traditional talk therapy limiting. This is often because the other therapies did engage in exploring the non verbal aspects of a clients experience effectively. Expressive arts therapy can support clients in gaining a deeper understanding of their difficulties while also supporting them in building effective coping tools.

How can I prepare for an Expressive Arts Therapy session?

To prepare for an Expressive Arts therapy session, it's helpful to gather a variety of art supplies. This may include: a journal, paper, clay, plasticine, wire, magazines, glue markers, crayons, pencil crayons, paint, water, paper towel and found objects. You may also want to reflect on what you'd like to work on before coming to the session but this is not necessary.

Is Expressive Arts Therapy safe? 

Expressive Arts therapy is considered a safe and effective form of therapy.  It's also important to discuss any medical conditions or concerns with your therapist  before beginning therapy. 

How much work do I have to put in outside of my sessions?

Expressive arts therapy does not require any homework - but you may find that insights and shifts continue to come up after the sessions. Journalling may be a helpful tool in processing these further and it can often help to have a talk therapy session between Expressive Arts therapy sessions to further support processing.   

How long is Expressive Arts Therapy treatment?

Most clients use expressive arts therapy intermittently throughout treatment, but it can also be used as the main type of therapy in treatment - this can be discussed as we are establishing treatment goals. 

Some clients may also find that they prefer longer sessions so there is an option to do either 50minute sessions or 90 minute sessions

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