Intro to Expressive Therapies

Photo: CC0, Khara Woods, 2016

The field of Expressive Therapy has recently become quite a phenomenon throughout the United States with the rise of health and wellness awareness. Although it is seen as a more alternative process, Expressive Therapy, also known as Arts Therapy, has roots that date back to the 1940’s. Before then, it was not defined as a practice, but art has been considered a medium for self-expression since cave drawings were discovered from 40,000 years ago in Cantabria, Spain. The practices tap into other fields, such as positive psychology, communication, self-awareness and most importantly self-confidence and creativity.

Nowadays, we are discovering new ways to use art in forms not limited to the classic pencil and paper. Expressive Therapy can be practiced through traditional art (painting, drawing, sculpting), dancing/singing and music, photography, journaling, and other activities. This blog will aim at helping readers to narrow the field to know what’s the best process to start with.

It should also be noted that Expressive Therapy is rooted in England, UK and has recently been brought over the ocean to the United States. We will learn more about this historical process and specifically, how it has spread throughout Boston.

Expressive Therapy can be more affordable and accessible than traditional psychiatric therapy. Activities can be conducted privately or in groups and even self-taught at home, which gives the option to make it more comfortable and financially acceptable. This will be explained in more details such as why more patients, even patients with serious medical conditions, are moving towards these alternative therapies. Additionally we will touch upon art therapy as a movement and how this field is seen as a creative approach to psychiatric care and health in general.



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