Ways Expressive Arts Therapy Heals You

Last Update on October 19, 2020 : Published on October 19, 2020
Ways Expressive Arts Therapy Heals You

Have you ever thought of painting, or dancing when you were too agitated to think clearly? Have you ever thought about diverting your attention to art when you were too anxious to stay still? If you have thought about this or did this, you might have unconsciously participated in expressive arts therapy.

When any kind of artistic method is used to help treat anxiety or mental disorders it is referred to as art therapy. Art therapy is a tool that provides a person with a creative outlet to express and enhance their mental and emotional wellbeing. Art, inadvertently, helps in understanding emotions, thoughts, feelings, promote self-awareness, overcome stress and anxiety, boost self-confidence, and in building social connections.

When it comes to psychotherapy, art can be used as a medium to express emotions, communicate, and explore the different sides of a person’s personality. You do not have to be an artistic person to participate in expressive arts therapy.


Forms Of Expressive Art Therapy

Expressive art therapy can be used in many forms like:

  • Writing
  • Performing arts such as dancing and drama
  • Painting
  • Music

These forms of expression, with the help of a therapist, can help a person express themselves through movement, reactions, sounds, colors, and words.

Where Can Expressive Arts Therapy Be Used?

Expressive arts therapy can be used to treat various behavioral, social, emotional, and mental health disorders such as:

Expressive arts therapy helps to explore your inner self in the form of various arts. A therapist can help with understanding the right creative process and provide the perfect coping mechanism to help deal with your problems.

This process doesn’t require a background in the arts. Sometimes non-verbal communication can help to express your thoughts and feelings in the right way.

Ways Of Healing With Expressive Art Therapy

1. Creativity

When someone is using expressive arts to express their feelings and emotions, they are likely to wake up their subconscious awareness. Letting go of your emotions through dancing, painting, drama, or even sculpting can release the creativity in you. A therapist might help you unfold your hidden talent and use it to help you. What you can’t express through words and speech, you can express through the arts hence enhancing your creative process along the way.


2. Communication

Expressive arts therapy can help deepen your communication with your therapist. It gives your therapist insight into what you are feeling. For instance, your choice of color to paint an art piece may provide your therapist with an insight as to what you’re feeling. (Example: if you’re using red color to paint it might mean an aggressive emotion whereas a yellow color might mean confidence and optimism)


3. Imagination

This form of therapy helps a person to experience something novel and use their imagination to do so. It could be a Eureka! moment for many. Expressive arts therapy can open up a doorway to a different world where expressing emotions can shed a light on your inner self. This therapy helps to tap into the soul of a person and provides them with a new form of expression.

Techniques Of Expressive Arts Therapy

Techniques Of Expressive Arts Therapy

Various activities can be used in the EAT:

For emotions

  • Painting (finger painting, drawing, etc)
  • Writing in a journal
  • Creating a puppet (sock puppet, finger puppet, etc)
  • Writing a message on a balloon and then setting it free

For relaxation

The goal of every activity is the same: helping to untangle a wide range of social, emotional, and mental issues to gain self-awareness and self-esteem. Expressive arts therapy is beneficial for children, teenagers, and adults with social anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, PTSD, and trauma among other cognitive, and behavioral disorders.

Expressive arts therapy is a creative process that involves expression, visualization, cooperation, and mindfulness.

“To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it.” – Osho

Create what you feel and live life to the fullest!

About The Author

Swarnakshi Sharma

Swarnakshi is a content writer at Calm sage, who believes in a healthier lifestyle for mind and body. A fighter and survivor of depression, she strives to reach and help spread awareness on ending the stigma surrounding mental health issues. A spiritual person at heart, she believes in destiny and the power of Self. She is an avid reader and writer and likes to spend her free time baking and learning about world cultures.


  1. Rashmi Kandhil

    Expressive arts therapy is basically a multi-modal approach. Nice article and very informative too.

  2. Kerin

    I am sometimes scared to face my own thoughts through drawing or writing but I am sure will try it soon.

  3. rahul

    performing drama and dancing is the best way to express emotions and feelings

  4. Jackie

    When I'm feeling too agitated and restless, I like to "dance it out". Very informative article. I didn't know the other activities can be a form of therapy.

  5. Amara Smith

    Is art therapy similar with expressive art therapy?

    1. Swarnakshi Sharma

      Hi Amara, thanks for visiting Calmsage. To answer your question: no, expressive arts therapy is not as same as art therapy. Art therapy is more focused on using painting, drawing, etc to heal whereas expressive arts therapy focuses on using performance arts such as writing, dancing, theatre, etc to help heal. I hope this answered your question. For more information, write to us at info@calmsage.com.

  6. CHTN

    Expressing things lighten your heart & make you feel free. Painting and writing are two of the most important artistic things

  7. Aayushi Kapoor

    Surely gonna try this... thanks for sharing

  8. Anamika Sinha

    Express the emotions and feelings is very much. Thanks for the amazing article

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