Expressive Arts Therapies

Healing is a creative process, and expressive arts therapy uses various media to promote self-expression, awareness and movement towards wholeness.

Using drawing, painting, movement, dance, writing, creative journaling and sculpting offers the ability to explore bodily sensations, emotions and experiences in a different way than simply through talk alone. Externalization through art can help deepen awareness and provide insight about aspects of one’s internal experience that are difficult to convey through other means, such as exploring different body experiences that are difficult to express through words or relating to the inner child. The process of creating invites the individual to become gently attuned to the body’s process and move into an innate self-expression that can lead to greater freedom and authenticity.

Expressive arts therapy promotes:

  • Building connection between inner and outer experiences
  • Connecting with oneself in the present moment
  • Self-awareness
  • Emotion regulation
  • Opening up to playfulness and self-expression
  • Insight through symbols, metaphors and movement
  • Integration of child and adult selves
  • Moving beyond the immobility (freeze) response into greater mobilization, freedom of expression, ease, and emotional and physical flexibility


A very specific form of expressive arts therapy is that of SoulCollage®, a process that can be facilitated 1:1 or in a group setting. According to its founder, “SoulCollage® is a creative and satisfying collage process. You make your own deck of cards — each collage card representing one aspect of your personality or Soul. Use the cards intuitively to answer life’s questions and participate in self-discovery. Joyfully deepen your understanding of the relationships between your personality parts, you and your family/community/world, and you and your dreams, symbols, and Spirit.”

For more information about SoulCollage®, please visit

“Art’s power of connection cannot be underestimated. The potter, the painter, sculptor, singer, dancer, musician, poet and patient are connected to the material world through their specific medium. They are also connected to their inner world through their thoughts, dreams and emotions. Colours on a palette speak to feelings of the soul. A movement in the air answers an inner gesture of intention, thought and feeling. A melody responds harmoniously to a moment in time. Art is a response which moves the participant from one place to another, and which connects feelings, thoughts, materials and insights. Art leaps into being when these different worlds merge. It connects the artist to his/her audience and community and in the case of the expressive arts it connects the client with the expressive arts practitioner, because together they have witnessed the creation and presence of the artwork.”

–Suzanne Darley and Wende Heath

EquuSpirit The Refuge Trauma Trainings

© 2013 –   Sarah Schlote.

The Refuge and EquuSpirit are registered trade names of the Schlote Psychotherapy Professional Corporation