Book: Expressive Arts Therapy


From the Appalachian Expressive Arts Collective comes Expressive Arts Therapy: Creative Process in Art and Life, an introductory reflection on the process of creating art as healing.  Perspectives include poetry, painting, music, and other forms of expression.  Body-centered therapy is a component, so the book speaks not only about choreography and dance, but general body awareness that is directly applicable to yoga.  A quick read with a good philosophy.

Each chapter contains a page called “Solo Voice,” with a perspective of one artist/writer/poet/musician/dancer, and then “Explorations” suggesting work that you can try.

1.) “The capacity for creative expression is a fundamental aspect of health.  Thus, healing and personal growth are possible through involvement in the creative process.”  This means everybody! (Page 13)

2.) Breathing in Daily Practice: Like a common phrase in Kundalini yoga, Breathe In What You Need, Breathe Out What You Don’t, this book reminds us that the action of breathing may also be seen “as the continual process of bringing what is needed and carrying away what is no longer needed.”  Further: the breath “can cleanse us of tension, fatigue, pain, anxiety, and worry.  It can bring calm, energy, peace, clarity, and stillness.” (Page 36)

3.) With any practice, be it a creative exercise or a yoga session, we want to do it consistently so that it becomes comfortable, natural, habitual.  Ready when we need it.  We can recall our intention for picking up the practice on days where it’s more challenging to do so: “Intention involves those elements that create the container: doing our own work, valuing ourselves, creating space and time for the creative process, and practicing a discipline that guides focus and sharpens skills for increasing awareness.  Consistent practice of some form of expression is necessary so that when the moment comes to say something, I have the vehicle with which to do it.” ( Page 106 – Terri Chester)

I’ve got a copy of this book to lend! At one point I was thinking about more school and this program at Appalachian State University seemed up a lot of my allies. It doesn’t get into a ton of specifics but it’s enjoyable and can be encouraging to hear all of these various voices on the creative process. ~Jordan

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