Expressive Therapies; How To Be The Leader Of Your Healing Journey

What Is Expressive Therapy?

Everyone is creative and has the ability to access their creative self.  People are creative in different ways, which can include cooking, redesigning your home or making crafts.  Some people use their creativity at work while other people use it at home when parenting.

Others are talented writers, dancers, musicians or artists who engage in creating and possibly sharing their artwork. As Cathy Malchiodi writes in Expressive Therapies, “When therapists are able to include those various expressive capacities in their work with their clients, they can more fully enhance each person’s abilities to communicate effectively and authentically.”

Every Person Is Different, Just Like Every Therapy Is

According to Malchiodi, “When therapists choose to use expressive therapies, they give their clients the opportunity to become active participants in their own treatment and empower them to use imagination in productive and corrective ways.”  All clients can benefit from using therapy to figure out which expressive therapy type is preferred by them.

9 Types of Therapies

Art Therapy uses art media, images, and the creative process, and respects patient/client responses to the created products as reflections of development, abilities, personality, interests, concerns, and conflicts.

Music Therapy uses music to effect positive changes in the psychological, physical, cognitive or social functioning of individuals.

Drama Therapy is the systematic and intentional use of drama/theatre processes, products and associations to achieve the therapeutic goals of symptom relief, emotional and physical integration, and personal growth.

Psychodrama is an action method (mostly conducted in group therapy) in which clients use spontaneous dramatization, role playing and dramatic self-presentation to gain insight into their lives.

Dance/Movement Therapy is the psychotherapeutic use of movement as a process that furthers the emotional, cognitive, and physical integration of the individual and is based on the assumption that body and mind are interrelated.

Poetry Therapy and Bibliotherapy is the intentional use of poetry and other forms of literature for healing and personal growth.

Play Therapy is the systematic use of a theoretical model to establish an interpersonal process wherein trained play therapists use the therapeutic powers of play to help clients to prevent or resolve psychosocial difficulties and achieve optimal growth and development.

Sandplay Therapy uses a sandbox and a large collection of miniatures to enable a client to explore the deeper layers of the psyche in a totally new format.

Intermodal or Multimodal involves two or more expressive therapies to foster awareness, encourage emotional growth, and enhance relationships with others.

Not every client needs to engage in expressive therapy, but clients who are open to expressive therapy interventions open themselves to a deeper healing. As Cathy Malchiodi states, “Creativity in therapy has the potential to impact clients in memorable ways.”


Expressive Therapies by Cathy Malchiodi