As you can imagine, I am often asked to explain what, exactly, are the expressive arts. Perhaps you are wondering, too. Well, let me begin with the official definition from the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association (IEATA):
The expressive arts combine the visual arts, movement, drama, music, writing and other creative processes to foster deep personal growth and community development.
The expressive arts have always been with us, we have just given it more of a formal title in recent years. From the first cave drawings to dancing around a fire, people have yearned for expression through the arts. One of the pioneers of expressive arts, Natalie Rogers, tells us more:
The expressive arts are ancient forms being rebirthed to bring much needed integration and balance into our world. In early times people knew well that dance, song, art and storytelling were all part of the same process: that of being fully functioning and creatively human. They also used the arts as a connection to each other and the forces of nature. Dancing and song release feelings, energize the body, and evoke community spirit. The viusal arts bring forth imagery and metaphor.
The focus of an expressive arts process is on enjoying the creative journey rather than being concerned with the end result or product. Through weaving together several art forms in a single creative process, inhibitions loosen up which allows for a deep connection with our creative essence.
This interplay among the various art forms is a distinctive feature of an expressive arts process. Expressive arts therapists and practitioners have a wealth of modalities to draw upon including visual arts, music, dance/movement, creative writing, storytelling, guided imagery, dream work, and sand tray.
Recently, I chatted with Connie Hozvicka of Dirty Footprint Studios about the expressive arts. I discussed with Connie how creative expression, whether it is creating your life or enjoying expression through an art form, is about answering the call of your soul.
To hear out entire conversion, click on the link below.