Engage in a different type of expression
Language is only one way we communicate and appears in conversation only after the information has been brought up to the conscience level. The process of language reminds me a little bit like a coffee filter. Information, thoughts, emotions, expressions, visions etc are placed in the coffee filter than when a desire to communicate through language appears, it’s like pouring the water over the coffee. Through the desire to communicate through speech, we try to make sense out of all the things that make up the thoughts, emotions, expressions and visions happening in our mind and filter it so that it comes out in a way that another person can understand. Our language has a flavor of what’s there but there is so much more to the language being spoken. Expressive arts therapy is about slowing down that process and not being limited to language alone. It isn’t about the final product.
As we further this coffee metaphor, expressive arts therapy uses many types of modalities with possible conjunction with language to explore what makes up the grinds of the coffee. It can provide a more in-depth understanding of what is underneath the language before it is filtered. It was shared with me once that expressive arts therapy catches the narrative of your story before it is filtered down through language. I have been amazed at how the many types of expressive therapy can reach a greater understanding so much faster than traditional talk therapy. I understand there may be some skepticism, I was skeptical too when I started. I went in thinking I wasn’t artistic or creative and that I wasn’t going to know or understand what to do. Then, I just let go, slowed down and explored what my inner creative spirt was showing me about myself. I realized I didn’t have to be good at anything, that’s not what it was about, it was all about exploring myself at a deeper level.
Expressive Arts Therapy is a combination of, such modalities as Sandtray Therapy, the use of color and texture in the form of painting, pastels, colors and markers, multimedia art, collage, clay, music, movement, and psychodrama. Many times they are used in tandem with one another and language as we explore what comes up.