In expressive arts therapy, you use multiple senses to explore your inner and outer world through the experience and creation of different art forms. Your therapist or counselor helps you communicate your feelings about the process and accomplishment of art making, and together, you use the creative process to highlight and analyze your problems and issues. Since the therapeutic work is based on the creative process, not on the final result, it is not necessary to have a background or training in the arts to benefit from expressive arts therapy. Throughout the process, you learn new and different ways to use the mostly nonverbal language of creativity to communicate inner feelings that were not previously available to you by only thinking or talking about them.
What To Expect
How It Works
At the core of expressive arts therapy is the concept of the natural process of moving from everyday expectations into the world of imagination and creativity that results in art making. Because art comes from a deep emotional place inside you, creative endeavors enable you to undergo a profound process of self-discovery and understanding. Creativity becomes the pathway to the expression of inner feelings, leading to a method of self-discovery and understanding. In other words, your creative process becomes your road to emotional health.
Psychotherapists, counselors, and teachers with standard qualifications may use some form of creative arts therapy in their work, but only those with specific training can be registered by the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association (IEATA) and call themselves expressive arts therapists.
What to Look for in an Expressive Arts Therapist
Expressive Arts Therapy
Expressive arts therapy combines psychology and the creative process to promote emotional growth and healing. This multi-arts, or intermodal, approach to psychotherapy uses our innate desire to create—through sculpture, painting, music, theater, poetry, dance, or other artistic forms—as a therapeutic tool to help initiate change.
Brandy Schafer, MS, LMHC, NCC, CCMHC
Registered Expressive Arts Therapist
Brandy King Schafer is a Registered Expressive Arts Therapist, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor, and a National Certified Counselor. She has a Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and a Filial/Play Therapy certification from Stetson University. She is currently pursuing an ATR-BC certification through additional education and internship.
Brandy offers existential and person-centered expressive arts therapy at Expressionists Creative Counseling, LLC. She specializes in creativity development, stress and anxiety management, perfectionism, and complicated grief.
As a collaborative presenter with EAFI at the 2019 International Expressive Arts Therapy Association (IEATA) Conference, Brandy facilitated image exploration and living multi-modal sculptures for the “Cultivating Intentional Inclusivity” workshop. She also presented original research on infusing creativity, existentialism, and trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy at the EB-ACA (Heidelberg, Germany) and the Bavarian International School.