You’ve probably noticed sometimes we talk about expressive art therapy, arts therapies, creative therapy or sometimes creative and expressive art therapy? Confused?
Let’s rewind a bit! Our tutor Irene Dudley-Swarbrick explains how to make sense of this.
We talk about Arts Therapies (in the plural) when we mean an umbrella term under which comes the individual modalities and classic disciplines of drama, music, and art. In the UK, and elsewhere, each of these modalities has its own specific training approach, its own professional body, code of ethics, and educational standards, focusing on one art form for therapeutic use. For example, drama therapy uses theatre techniques such as role play, voice work, storytelling, as one mode of expression. These three modalities are ‘protected titles’ – you can only legally call yourself an art therapist, drama therapist, music therapist, if you’ve done a particular training designated as Art Therapy, Drama Therapy, or Music Therapy. This development of protected titles is in some part political – but that’s a discussion for another day!
There are other creative arts therapies of course, that use particular creative arts such as well-known ones like psychodrama, poetry/bibliotherapy, play therapy, sandplay therapy. All of these modalities also offer specific training courses to develop specific types of therapy practitioners – for example a psychodramatist trains in psychodrama, a play therapist trains in play therapy, a sandplay therapist trains in Sandplay and so on.
These are all creative ways to help clients find healing by expressing themselves: their feelings, emotions, challenges, and difficulties through a particular medium.
Expressive Art Therapy is different. This doesn’t focus on just one form or medium, such as music. Instead, it is draws on and makes use of different mediums that Cathy Malchiodi has very helpfully organised for us into the MSSS model. That stands for Movement, Sound, Storytelling, and Silence.
Students having fun at the Introduction to Expressive Arts weekend course in Lancaster in September 2022
When working as an Expressive Art Therapist I work ‘integratively’ – moving between one medium to another within a session. Natalie Rogers developed a Person-Centred approach to this work, and called this the Creative Connection®, and this is how I work – using the mediums of movement, sound, storytelling, silence, and all the different forms of expression that might come under those headings. In this way I hope to offer whatever the client might need to experience and create endless possibilities for healing, growth, wellbeing, flourishing, or play.
Irene will be running face-to-face and online creative expressive arts therapy trainings in March 2023 at the Tara Centre in Lancaster, Lancashire, England. To book onto an online or face-to-face weekend click here.
There will also be a Certificate in Integrative Creative and Expressive Art Therapy starting in September 2023. To learn more about this course click here. The Diploma in Integrative Creative and Expressive Art Therapy will follow in 2024. All our courses are a maximum of 8 students. Contact us for more details.