Use of the expressive arts multiplies the avenues by which a person in therapy may seek meaning, clarity, and healing. It deepens and transcends traditional talk therapy by acknowledging that each person’s process is unique. While one individual may like talk therapy, another person may prefer to use journaling, movement, art, or a combination of different experiences during therapy.
The accessibility of expressive arts therapy is due to the focus being not on artistic outcomes but rather on the process of creating. A person who utilizes expressive arts therapy is not required to have any artistic ability. Rather, it is through the use of the individual’s senses that the imagination can process, flourish, and support healing. As such, the process is often referred to as “low skill, high sensitivity.”
Each creative arts modality is unique, and the use of each is carefully considered by each expressive arts therapist. For example, journaling might be an appropriate expressive outlet for someone new to therapy. On the other side of the spectrum, a person who has already established a strong therapeutic relationship with his or her therapist may appreciate the use of movement or drama. Careful use of each modality is determined by the strength, timing, pacing, and readiness of the person in therapy. Different modalities may be used at any point throughout the therapeutic process as needed. Homework may also be issued for the person in therapy to complete between sessions.