Expressive Arts Therapy E-News

June 2016 | Enjoy These Resources and Articles!

In this issue...

Enjoy and learn more about expressive arts and trauma-informed practice...
  • "Expressive Arts Therapy and Self-Regulation"
  • "Visual Journaling as a Reflective Practice"
  • "Expressive Arts and the Window of Tolerance"
  • Current Workshops and Courses
  • Continuing Education Updates

...and links to latest downloadable resources, events and other trauma-informed expressive arts therapy information.

Expressive Arts Therapy and Self-Regulation

Expressive arts (the integrated use of art, music, dance/movement, drama, and creative writing) therapies can enhance self-regulation in individuals of all ages who are experiencing distress or reactions from psychological trauma. In particular, the kinesthetic-sensory qualities of art, music and movement that include rhythm, movement, touch, and sound potentially mediate lower brain functions such as heart rate and respiration through specific approaches. Here are just a few ways that expressive arts approaches support self-regulation:

Not Just Attunement; It’s “Sensory-Based” Attunement. In any therapy relationship, practitioners meet individuals where they are in their reparation and recovery, responding with both insight (knowing what one feels) and empathy (knowing what others feel). Daniel Siegel refers to this as “mindsight” while others refer to it as attunement, the capacity to recognize non-verbal communications, rhythms and responses of others. Similarly, Bruce Perry notes that attunement is the capacity to be able to read the non-verbal communication and rhythms of others. Read more here!

Visual Journaling as a Reflective Practice | C. Malchiodi, PhD

Like many art therapists, I have kept visual journals [also known as art journals] for longer than I can remember. But the visual journaling I do now is quite different from how I approached it a couple of decades ago. As an art student studying at a museum school, tradition dictated that I draw in typical black bound sketch journals almost daily; I carried one or more of these journals with me not only to class, but just about everywhere I went, just in case there was something I wanted to capture with pencil or pastel on paper. These journals became the basis for sketches for larger works like paintings, sculptures and drafts of what seemed like endless creative projects.

Once I started to study art therapy and psychology, my view of visual journaling changed, suddenly becoming less about declaratively recording the external world or prep for formalizing a painting or other artwork. Instead, I redirected my journals toward the inner worlds of imagination and often to what was just below the surface of awareness—an implicit knowing that contains more than what can be put into words. It also became a life-long process of learning through what is historically referred to as a reflective practice; in other words, it became a way of using art making to manifest what is just below the surface in order to deepen meaning and understanding. Read More Here!

Three-Day "Visual Journaling in Expressive Arts Therapy and Counseling" Denver CO, June 22, 23, & 24, 2016, Lowry Conference Center; Regular Registration Rate ends on May 15th, 2016!

We have a full house for this dynamic course! Check with us for late cancellations and for future offerings in the Denver area!

Institute Faculty: Cathy Malchiodi, PhD, LPCC, LPAT, ATR-BC, REAT and Elizabeth Warson, PhD, LPC, ATR-BC

Visual journaling [also called art or drawing journaling] has been identified as both an important and accessible approach in expressive arts therapy, counseling and psychotherapy. It is not only an effective method for stress reduction, but also is considered a creative way to express personal narratives and life stories as well as make meaning through images, creative writing, imagination and storytelling.

In this three-day course, participants will experience a variety of visual journaling approaches that are grounded in emerging research and based on historical foundations of journaling for emotional reparation and wellness. Course content focuses on three basic areas--methods, materials and mind-body-- to demonstrate and illustrate how visual journaling can be adapted to support self-regulation, stress reduction, meaning-making and construction of narratives within person-centered expressive arts, narrative therapy and counseling frameworks. While this course is mostly "hands-on," participants will also learn how to design developmentally-appropriate, trauma-informed and culturally responsive visual journal interventions through lecture and group discussions.

This course provides 18 hours of continuing education [see this link for specific information]; a small additional fee is charged for continuing education certificates and is payable at the event. All participants who successfully complete the three-day course will receive a Certificate of Completion from the Trauma-Informed Practices and Expressive Arts Therapy Institute, but is also a great opportunity to partially fulfill the Level One Certificate in Trauma-Informed Expressive Arts Therapy.

The hours accumulated in this course offering may be applied educational requirements for the Registered Expressive Arts Therapist [REAT] credential with the International Expressive Arts Therapy Institute. This course is open to professionals and students interested in applications of visual journaling for health and well-being.

REGISTRATION: Register at this link; regular registration [lowest fee] ends on May 15th, 2016, midnight PST.

Continuing Education Updates...

We have a variety of continuing education offerings for learners and participants. But many of you have been asking for more options, so we are exploring continuing education for social workers, psychologists and nurses. If you have a preference or specific need--- please let us know and use our Contact form at this link.

And for our current continuing education offerings, please visit our continuing education page for information.

Complete Trauma-Informed Expressive Arts Therapy Level One or Your REAT Credential

For more information about these courses, please visit this link. To read more about completing Registration as an Expressive Arts Therapist, please see this link about the REAT.

Contact Us Here!

Let us know if you have any questions about registration or courses.

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Expressive Arts Therapy and the Window of Tolerance

Via Psychology Today..."Lamott (1995) in her novel Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, provides a story that I often share with older children, teenagers and adults in expressive art therapy. She tells the story of her brother who at the age of ten years had a report on birds to write and due on the next day. Although he had three months to write it, he left the project until the last minute and understandably became overwhelmed by the magnitude of the report. Lamott’s father put his arm around his son’s shoulder and simply said, “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird” (p. 18-19). This short story explains how overwhelming any large task can be and how we have to take it on “bird by bird.” Similarly, individuals in the process of recovery from any challenge must be carefully guided into taking small steps that can be safely tolerated rather than stretching one’s limits only to feel worse as a result.

In any application of expressive arts therapy, sensitivity to the “window of tolerance” (Siegel, 2010), the area of arousal within which a person can comfortably participate, is key. This window is bounded by two common responses: hyperarousal (overactivation) and hypoarousal (withdrawal or dissociation). When individuals respond in either way, they are experiencing something intolerable and likely something that is sensed as unsafe. While many individuals have the ability to return themselves to their tolerance zone, those who have a limited window may not have the same capacity. In these cases, it is important to understand not only what can be tolerated in terms of creative intervention, but also how to appropriately pace expressive arts in a way that maintains that individual’s zone of comfort to support a sense of safety.." Read more here....

Sing, Act, Dance, Heal

Inspirational article by Wendy Kagan..."In January 2011, a 9mm bullet, fired point-blank from the gun of a mentally ill assailant, passed through the left rear of Gabrielle Giffords's head and exited just over her left eye. The Arizona congresswoman, who had been meeting with constituents in front of a supermarket near Tucson, would survive—despite massive trauma to the left side of her brain, the regions that control vision, movement, and speech. After surgery and intensive therapy, some 10 months later Giffords could respond to TV journalist Diane Sawyer's interview questions with mostly one-word answers—yet she could sing all the lyrics of "Tomorrow" from the Broadway show "Annie." Struggling to find language, she would call a chair a "spoon," but she could belt out all the words to Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun." It was music that helped pave a road back to speech, and it was music that—in the form of a guitar-strumming therapist by her side to help organize her movements—even supported Giffords's steps as she relearned how to walk." See this link for entire text...
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