Expressive Arts; Tapping the Senses for Insight and Change

Expressive Arts; Tapping the Senses for Insight and Change

The Expressive Arts stimulates body awareness through all of the arts to access deeper themes or concerns that are held in the body as feelings and memories. This practice offers support in the daily practice of living a resilient, creative life. No art background is necessary to be successful. The Expressive Arts is a gentle, powerful, organic and expansive agent for insight and/or change.

Example Private Session:

Jean arrives at her session with several pressing issues, but identifies her concerns about her divorce as most present for her. Once this focus is identified Jean is asked to switch from “thinking about” the issue to noticing any body sensations that are activated while sharing this issue. This might be a tingle, a pain, tightness or a warmth. If the strongest sensation were expressed in a movement, what would that be? Sharp or smooth? Fast or slow? It is in her neck and it is very tight.

Jean begins moving from her neck with tight jerky motions. She is encouraged to let the movement expand, or contract, see if it wants to travel through space while up high or down low. What other parts of her body are activated when the jerky tightness is expressed? Is there a sound it would make?

A slow constricted howl emerges from Jean’s gut as her whole body is in movement. After this exploration is exhausted I ask Jean to close her eyes and notice, “If the sensation you feel most strongly now were a color or shape, ask it what color or shape it be.” Jean chooses a muddy red and paints a jagged shape. Then she asks what wants to happen next? What wants to happen next is the only concern Jean has in this moment. She continues adding paint, repeating shapes and giving the painted image a voice with a harsh drum beat. When Jean is at a stopping point, she is encouraged to journal, speaking from the voice of the painting.

Once more Jean turns her focus to what is happening in her body, noticing that the sensation in her thoat has now released. And the color is a white glow. In reflection Jean writes about what happened in her session from beginning to end, and then together, we see how that experience might ”speak to” or inform the original concerns surrounding her divorce. In closing we notice how she was feeling when she came in and how she is feeling now. We name resources that she will take with her such as insights she had, sounds and colors that were helpful and the need to know only, what wants to happen next.

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