Expressive Arts for Mental Health: Theory and Practice

Expressive Arts for Mental Health: Theory and Practice

Level One Partner Workshop With Lindsay Dixon

Expressive Arts Therapy (EXAT) is the use of various arts such as drawing, painting, writing, sculpture, dance, music, drumming, drama, etc. for personal and collective insight, change, and healing. EXAT can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression and is an effective intervention for grief and trauma. EXAT is person-centred and accessible to most everyone.

In this interactive workshop, we will discuss the relationship between Arts and Health from an EXAT perspective. Specifically, we will look at the therapeutic arts continuum; the difference between Art Therapy and Expressive Art Therapy; the central principles and theoretical orientation of EXAT; case study examples; and suggestions for ways to integrate EXAT safely and effectively into your work with clients.

Participants are encouraged to have a drawing pencil (or pen) and several sheets of paper for sample exercises.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the differences between Art Therapy (AT), Expressive Art Therapy (EXAT), and other creative therapies;
  • Awareness of the mechanisms through which EXAT promotes mental health and wellbeing;
  • Knowledge of the central principles of EXAT and how to apply them when offering Expressive Arts experiences to clients;
  • Practical and specific Expressive Arts activity ideas for various client populations.

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