Like other alternate therapies like drama therapy or music therapy, Expressive arts therapy is a great way to explore a person’s inner self. With the help of different types of arts like singing, playing an instrument, writing, painting, or story-telling, expressive arts therapy allows a person to express and/or channelize his thoughts, expressions, and untold emotions. To enjoy the benefits of this therapy, one doesn’t need to be an artist. With the help and guidance of a trained expressive arts therapist, a person seeking help can soon find his haven into the world of arts.
Expressive arts therapy was introduced in the 1970s at Leslie College Graduate School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. After that, the NOAH (National Organization for Arts in Health) recognized 6 separate branches for the expressive arts including art, dance, drama, music, poetry, and psychodrama. Today, more than 40 universities offer programs in expressive arts therapy.
Having sessions with an expressive arts therapist might benefit you in more ways than you can imagine. Here’s a list of benefits that you can enjoy when you sign up for an expressive arts therapy session.
1. It helps to communicate:
The personality of a person is classified into two groups, viz. the Extroverts and the Introverts. People who are introverts often find it challenging to express themselves, their thoughts and emotions properly. As a result, the unexpressed emotions often turn into depression or frustration. This might eventually lead to drug addiction, self-destructing behavior, or the tendency of harming others, even turning into anti-social behavior if not acted upon. Expressive arts therapy creates a way to vent out the suppressed words and emotions for them. In a way, it helps a person to improve his communication skills.
2. It lets a person de-stress:
It’s the 21st century and every person in this world is living a complex life filled with new and innovative problems. It’s such an era of stress, depression, and mental breakdown that sometimes it becomes too hard to maintain your calmness. In such situations, a person cannot just simply relax. He needs a guide to show him the way to decompress. Expressive arts therapy is a great way to de-stress yourself.
When you explore the power of arts in a safe and secure environment, you feel like being in another world altogether, where there are no hurries, no worries, just a fulfilling experience. Having regular sessions with expressive arts therapists can make you calm, composed, relaxed, and drive you to reflect more, rather than react.
3. It helps in addressing past issues:
Another important benefit of expressive arts therapy is that it can help you move on.
As the saying goes, life is not a bed of roses. We all have families, friends, or acquaintances around us who have suffered from traumatic experiences in their past (or we ourselves can be that person). These experiences might range from witnessing the nasty breakup between our parents to being a victim of an outrageous fire breakout. People suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorders, or simply finding themselves unable to leave the past behind, can get the much-needed help from these expressive arts therapy sessions. With regular counseling and art therapy sessions, a person feels lighter inside and eventually drops those burdens for good.
4. It nurtures creativity in young minds:
Expressive arts therapy is not just for adults who have some problems in coping up with the society. It is a great option for young people too. Joining sessions in expressive arts will help young people explore the innermost stream of consciousness in their minds. Besides, they will learn to express and communicate from an early age.
These children will grow up to become mentally stronger and coolheaded persons. Not just that, art helps nurture creativity in young minds. What starts as a therapy session might soon turn into an interest, a hobby, or even a career choice later on. When children get the chance to explore new territories, it helps them become better problem solvers and better thinkers.
5. It provides a positive escape from the real world:
Sometimes life becomes too stressful and mundane for adults. In their pursuit of something new, or some distraction, they often end up in the wrong way. This is true especially for young adults aged between 18 and 25. As a result, drug addiction and alcoholism become the realities of their lives. When you embrace something positive and creative like this expressive arts therapy as a distraction or an escape, it immensely benefits you.
6. It helps us to know ourselves better:
It is ironical that in our pursuit of knowing the world around us, we often fail to know ourselves. To explore the full potential of a person, he should be well-aware of his strengths and weaknesses. Expressive arts therapy gives the person a chance to know himself better. You might be surprised to discover your hidden passion and talent for poetry until you visited the expressive arts session. Thus, it provides us an opportunity to explore our potential.
So, in short, these are the primary benefits of visiting the expressive arts therapists. Once you start with this beautiful way of living, I’m sure you will discover lots of more benefits on your own.