My experience of improved mindfulness is common among those who participate in embodied expressive arts practices and I was interested to learn that Real Caring Integrative Therapy has programs in place that combine therapeutic expressive arts with evidence based therapies like Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), commonly used to treat trauma and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).
Mindfulness can be enhanced through art therapy and embodied practices. “In the DBT group we’re really working a lot with embodied mindfulness,” Shannon Simonelli, PhD, ATR, said. “We’re filling out the experience of mindfulness and connection with “wise mind” to include somatic perspective and somatic orientation. We’re teaching people how to check in with and language their observations from a body-based perspective.”
“In art therapy I’m always weaving people back to, ‘what are they aware of in their body, how does the therapeutic topic that we’re discussing not only relate to their art and their imagery, but how are they experiencing that in their body?’” Simonelli said. “It’s important for people to come back to the body as a source of information, not only for awareness, but for what would assist them, nourish them, or calm them. The body is a resource--not only giving information but guiding us towards wellness.”
Through an integrated approach that includes DBT, expressive arts, and embodiment, people are able to gain fundamental skills that will last a lifetime.
Amanda Butler, Staff Writer