What is Expressive Arts?
Expressive Arts is a relatively new practice in the mental health field. It uses the arts to help heal the mind, body, emotions and spirit. It also incorporates movement, writing, and the visual arts, such as painting, drawing, sculpture and collage, as well as sounds, drama and meditation.
Who can benefit from the Expressive Arts?
Every person can use Expressive Arts for self-discovery, healing and conflict resolution. Human beings have an innate capacity to be creative. Expressive Art programs can benefit the elderly, youth in recovery, the homeless, refugees, veterans, and individuals living with cancer and other health issues.
Corporations can utilize the expressive arts for team building, brainstorming, problem solving, and more, in a wide range of business, professional and educational settings.
To be able to express yourself is a primary need of every human being, but it is also a challenging skill that determines the nature of the interactions an individual experiences in his or her society. Expressive Arts workshops teach that art is a powerful, constructive and healthy form of self-expression. Participants learn that through art, they can express their feelings, as well as describe experiences and situations that might not be easily verbalized.
ARTreach introduces Expressive Arts, used as a tool for self discovery for youth and adults undergoing treatment for depression, anger management, addiction recovery, the elderly in assisted living, and special needs individuals, including children suffering from neurological differences.
ARTreach and our branches in Katy and Houston are piloting Expressive Arts Programs aimed at stimulating creativity and improving social behavior. These ARTreach workshops are facilitated by Lorena Fernandez, M.A.
“Mastering the art of self expression improves our ability to connect to society”, says Fernandez, “It is through this process of art production that our students find healing to the soul, as it allows for gentle and safe self-exploration and self expression”.
Lorena’s workshops teach that by producing art, a person can become aware of his or her power to manipulate the environment for the sake of expression, communication, beauty and attention. This represents their power to make an immediate difference in the world, nonviolently.
A sense of power and control stimulates creativity. Making art increases a person’s confidence in his or her ability to make something new out of the synthesis of his or her experiences. This skill translates easily into greater productivity and an increased ability to think outside the box.
The ability to express oneself through art is a source of hope in difficult times. It is true that making art about an experience from ordinary life can make that experience extraordinary. Also, negative experiences can have a positive side effect by providing the inspiration to create art.
In practice, Lorena Fernandez uses a combination of studio experience, sound, and movement to guide the participants into deeper layers of themselves and their emotions. There is open dialog during class and a gentle, safe atmosphere.
There is an emphasis on a non-judgmental, non-competitive and safe environment. In this environment, individual’s dreams, aspirations, revelations and insights are given proper respect by all workshop participants.
Basic Principals of Expressive Arts
All people have an innate ability to be creative
The creative process is healing
Personal growth and increased awareness are achieved through self understanding and insight
The expressive arts lead us into the unconscious mind, allowing us to discover new facets of ourselves
As we journey inward for self discovery, we also discover our connection to society and the world around us.
Currently ARTreach is piloting programs for social workers, therapists, counselors and teachers to help these professional understand and utilize techniques that can be used to get to know their own clients, patients, and/or students.
ARTreach will also arrange an Expressive Art workshop for your student/client population with your counselor/therapists involvement. These workshops are funded by ARTreach with the stipulation that the agency supports the evaluation process.