Expressive Arts Therapy

I once heard of a tribe that diagnoses illness by asking When did you stop dancing and when did you stop singing?

We all have a natural innate way of expressing anything and everything. The laughing and drawing and dancing and moving that we admire is inside every single one of us. The impulse to express ourselves is what makes us alive and human. If we are lucky, we remember that it came out of us naturally when we were young, before it was scared into withdrawal. 

 This question, “When did you stop dancing and when did you stop singing?” is very interesting. It points to a time in history when something went into hiding. Some part of you. The point of Expressive Arts Therapy is to give access and output to the inner workings and sensitive hidings of our true selves. It is the use of any form of expression for the release and transformation of emotions held in the body. The body is the container of our life. It holds all our experiences along with our unexpressed sorrows, our unfinished traumas, and our unfinished actions. That’s a lot for the immune system and the nervous system to carry. There has to be a way for release and the proverbial letting go.  Actually, pre-verbal experiences are particularly hard to articulate and they need other ways to show expression. 

 The body naturally expresses itself in movement, and if it were to spit out something on paper it would come in the form of images.  Images are a direct expression from the body of what’s inside.  Using art and movement and music are very human and very natural ways to let out what went in.  We experience life with all of our senses, so it’s logical that we would have to engage those senses to release our experiences.  And herein lies the beauty of art, movement, and the expressive arts.  It’s about expression and then being in relationship to what wanted to be expressed, with curiosity and evolving acceptance.  It is not about being an artist.  It’s about expressing – and we all do it. 

© The Hollow Path Experiential Therapy