Creative interventions include art, music, psychodrama, poetry, play, sanitary and dance/movement therapies. Each of these interventions can be used with any ages, families and groups.
- Art therapy uses visual art materials and media during interventions.
- Music therapy is beneficial to produce positive effect changes in psychological, physical, cognitive or social functioning of individuals with health or educational problems (American Music Therapy Association, 2014; Wheeler, 2014).
- Drama therapy allows an individual to tell his or her story to solve a problem, achieve catharsis, extend depth and breadth of inner experiences, understand meaning of images and strengthen abilities to observe personal role wile increasing flexibility between roles (National Association for Drama Therapy, 2014).
- Dance/movement therapy effects changes in feelings, cognition, physical functioning and behavior. Poetry therapy uses poetry and other forms of literature for healing and personal growth.
- Play therapy is used by trained therapists to help clients prevent or resolve psychosocial difficulties and achieve optimal growth and development.
- Integrative approaches involve two or more expressive therapies to foster awareness, encourage emotional growth and enhance relationships with others.
How it Works
Clients may believe that expressive or play therapies are just for fun and it is fun, but it also involves purposeful meaning-making through specific art making. Play therapists introduce various art-based activities that will stimulate creative expressions. The goal is to help clients visually express and record experiences, perceptions, feelings and imagination. They capitalize on their vast knowledge of art media and arts-based approaches to enhance clients ability to communicate through creative expression.
Play Therapy, Art Therapy and Expressive Therapies are beneficial for the following:
- Eating Disorders
- Depressive Disorders
- Speech and Sensory Disorders
- Family Therapy
Benefits of Art and Play Therapy
Non-Verbal Communication: Art therapy is a great way to for individuals to articulate thoughts, sensations, emotions or perceptions that they are unable to through words. Art therapy is a valuable tool when working with clients who have experienced trauma or abuse. It is one way to communicate what one may be unable or afraid to speak regarding events or feelings. It is also a sensory-based approach that allows individuals to experience themselves and communicate on multiple levels - visual, tactile, kinesthetic and more - and not only to be heard (talk), but also to be seen via images (art).
Growth and Development: Art can provide useful information on development in children and help the therapist understand a child's emotional experiences, cognition and sensory integration.
Self Regulation: Certain sensory characteristics of art making seem to be effective in improving mood, sensory integration, and calming the body and mind, especially with individuals who have experienced traumatic events.
Meaning-Making: Play and art therapy provides an opportunity to express metaphors through art expression. One of the strengths of both approaches is their ability to encourage and enhance storytelling and narratives. Storytelling about a drawing, painting, collage or construction does not have to be literal to be therapeutic. In fact, an individual who has experienced traumatic events or is challenged by an emotional disorder may only find it possible to generate imaginative stories. With the support and guidance of the therapist, these narratives serve as a way to slowly and safely release disturbing or terrorizing experiences.