What do you mean by 'Expressive Art?'
It's easiest to breakdown the term into it's two parts: Expressive and Art
EXPRESSIVE: those of us working in this field are dedicated to helping people express themselves, using art as the tool, the impetus and guide. The fundamental root of all Expressive Arts experiences is the emphasis on the process of creating instead of a focus on the product of creativity (i.e., a painting, a song, a poem, a dance routine, etc., etc.). In every Expressive Arts session, clients or participants are invited to reflect on the experience of their creative process and what it reveals to them.
ART: What sets the Expressive Arts apart from other arts programming or therapeutic applications of 'art' is that it includes ALL and ANY art forms - this is why it is often referred to as a multi-modal practice. Most people associate the word 'art' with the single art form of 'visual art' when in truth (within the context of the creative arts) it refers to a wider spectrum of art forms including literary art, photography, dramatic art, movement, dance and music.
Are you an Art Therapist?
A most important detail I offer every client straight away is:
I am not a therapist.
Though the programming I facilitate is very often therapeutic in nature, I do not offer clients the regulated act of psychotherapy. I do not diagnose, prescribe or psychoanalyze. My role as a certified Expressive Arts Practitioner qualifies me to provide playful & thoughtful arts-based programming that aims to foster and improve wellness and health.
My training has prepared me to work within institutions (such as hospitals, long-term care facilities, schools), with private or community groups or in a 1-to-1 capacity. Some of the populations the expressive arts are particularly effective with are the elderly, individuals living with Alzheimer's, dementia, brain injuries, physical disabilities, the neurodiverse and anyone who wishes to use art as a means to self-discover and grow.
I make (and hold) space for people to come as they are, be as they are and use their inner artistic resources to work through personal challenges or simply enjoy being creative without fear of judgment. A much less formal title I enjoy to give myself is Creativity Nurse or Creativity Coach :)
If you are seeking an Expressive Arts Therapist, you can visit the OEATA or IEATA websites for a list of professionals in your area. They are a special bunch and the work they do is profoundly healing.
I encourage you to explore this option if you are in need of psychotherapy.
Code of Ethics
In accordance with the Ontario Expressive Arts Therapy Association.
You can learn more HERE.