Expressive Arts Therapy is a form of psychotherapeutic intervention based on creative modalities, including visual art techniques such as drawing, painting and sculpting as well as symbol work, sand tray, music and more. Therapeutic arts-based methods can facilitate expression and processing of difficult experiences and emotions that may be challenging to communicate verbally and therefore contribute to self-discovery, self-confidence and self-actualisation (Boehm et al., 2014). Artistic experience or skill is not required when engaging in expressive therapy modalities.
Artmaking involves various processes which stimulate complex coordination of different brain regions (Lusebrink, 2004) and has been described as mind-body interaction leading to a different way of knowing than through verbal expression and cognitive understanding alone (Malchiodi, 2013).
For example, clay sculpting is a rich somatosensory experience, involving varied haptic engagement ranging from gentle forming of the material and smoothing a surface to intense physical manipulation entailing body movement. Clay sculpting also engages perceptual and cognitive skills such as decision-making, memory, concentration and emotional expression. Arts-based modalities have been found to stimulate right-brain activity and aid processing of affective information held in the body, resulting in the integration of multi-sensory experiences, emotion regulation and psychophysiological attunement (Lusebrink, 2004; Nan & Ho, 2017).
I have recently completed a Master of Counselling at the University of the Sunshine Coast which included Expressive Therapy modalities.
I also hold a Bachelor Degree in Art Therapy which I obtained in Germany where art therapy has long been established. Furthermore, I obtained a certificate in Healing Trauma with Guided Drawing at the Institute for Sensorimotor Art Therapy.
I am increasingly integrating elements bilateral somatic expressive methods into my practice (including sound making with hang drums), supporting a strength-based developmentally sensitive, neurobiology-informed therapeutic approach.
My therapeutic framework can be described as person-centred, strength-based and trauma-informed, utilising therapeutic arts-based methods, drawing from somatic therapies, neuroscience, attachment and relational theories. Sessions are generally guided by the client and I regard my role as supporting individuals who are seeking help for challenging aspects in their lives in finding their own solutions and helpful ways of coping with difficulties.
My approach is informed by following theories:
My studio is located on Bribie Island in beautiful Queensland, Australia.
Boehm, K., Cramer, H., Staroszynski, T., & Ostermann, T. (2014). Arts therapies for anxiety, depression, and quality of life in breast cancer patients: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2014, 1-9.
Lusebrink, V. B. (2004). Art therapy and the brain: An attempt to understand the underlying processes of art expression in therapy. Art Therapy, 21(3), 125-135.
Malchiodi, C. A. (2013). Expressive therapies. Guilford Publications.
Nan, J. K. M., & Ho, R. T. H. (2017). Effects of clay art therapy on adults outpatients with major depressive disorder: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Affective Disorders, 217, 237-245