Art Therapy: Treating Combat-Related PTSD

Recent research underscores that art therapy's role in the resolution of trauma is evident, but on the whole, it's complicated.

Expressive Arts Therapies and Posttraumatic Growth

Arts expression and expressive arts therapies are changing personal narratives of posttraumatic stress to ones of posttraumatic growth and posttraumatic "possibility."

Why Art Therapy Works

What makes art therapy "work" has eluded the profession—until recently. Researchers have constructed a five-part model that summarizes the key factors.

Art Therapy Does Not Happen Through an Adult Coloring Book..

There is no doubt that adult coloring books can be forms of emotional grounding and relaxation, depending on the individual. But therapy is more than self-help and self-soothing.

Art Making and Stress Reduction

Is art making always a stress-reducing experience? Cumulative research points to "it's complicated;" the art psychotherapeutic relationship plus biomarkers may hold the key.

Depth Psychology of Art

The transformative powers of artistic expression are found in diving into the depths as well as the reflections of its surfaces.

Visual Journaling as a Reflective Practice

The practice of visual journaling can be a powerful container for life’s more difficult experiences and transitions, self-care and meaning-making. Start your journaling here.

Expressive Arts Therapy and Self-Regulation

Expressive arts therapies can enhance self-regulation in individuals of all ages who are experiencing distress; the secret is sensory-based attunement.

Expressive Arts Therapy and Windows of Tolerance

The process of recovery happens by taking small steps that can be safely tolerated rather than stretching one’s limits.

Child Art Therapy: How It Works

Art therapy often begs the response—“But it’s just arts and crafts!” Art therapy is not just “arts and crafts" or even its first cousin, the ubiquitous coloring book.

Creativity as a Wellness Practice

Studies show your own authentic self-expression can be a potent agent for wellness. So put down the coloring book and try making creativity a wellness resolution this year.

Imagination in Action: Interview With Shaun McNiff

Imagination in action is about accepting the struggles, mistakes and failures and realizing that they are all part of the challenging process of personal transformation. Put down that coloring book and give yourself the gift of spontaneous, authentic, creative expression.

Art Therapy and Counseling…or is it Art Therapy Counseling?

Will “art therapy” or “art therapy counseling” degree titles be accepted for eligibility for counselor licensure in the future? Watch out for Y2020.

Bilateral Drawing: Self-Regulation for Trauma Reparation

Current trauma research indicates that bilateral stimulation in the form of eye movement desensitization (EMDR) and similar methods are effective for many individuals. But is there a more creative way to engage cross-hemisphere activity for reparation and recovery?

Art is about Resilience, It Always Has Been

Art expression and the creative process are really manifestations of the drive toward health and well-being, not merely signposts of repression, projection, displacement, and sublimation. As Louise Bourgeois noted, “Art is a guarantee of sanity” – it a human way of self-actualizing rather than "pathologizing" the human condition.

Art Therapy: It’s Not Just an Art Project

Are there circumstances where art itself is the proverbial therapist? This is a question that continues to rankle the profession called “art therapist” as well as those who are trying to establish a clearly defined scope of practice for the field.

Are You Having a Relationship with an Adult Coloring Book?

As of this writing, five of the top 30 titles on Amazon’s best-seller list are adult coloring books. With over 2000 titles out there and rising, the phenomenon of adult coloring-within-the-lines just seems to have no end in sight. Just why have adult coloring books become such a phenomenon?

The Art Therapy + Happiness Project

Artistic creativity is primarily a force of health and well-being rather than a mirror of dysfunction or disorder. Therefore the real purpose of art therapy and expressive arts therapy is to facilitate individuals’ creative exploration and self-expression to find both the “pleasant life” as well as the “meaningful life.”

The Art of Art Therapy Shapeshifting

Shapeshifting, also known as transmorgrification and transformation, is found throughout the realms of myth and folklore. Art therapy, a field that embraces the symbolic world and the process of transformation, has its own shapeshifting tales to tell, too.

Music Therapy Activities Wiki

Learn more about music therapy, the value of music therapists and how music therapists envision and develop music therapy strategies. is an encyclopedic collection of therapeutic music activities, indexed by goal and objective—and it will help you understand more about the range of this dynamic approach to health.

Oliver Sacks and Creative Arts Therapies

Many colleagues in the fields of creative arts therapies were sad to read Oliver Sacks’ recent and poignant essay in the Op-Ed section of The New York Times about the return of his cancer and his thoughts about death. And here's why his body of work continues to impact the fields of art therapy, music therapy, and other expressive therapies.

Don Jones: Make Art (Therapy), Not War

Don Jones was part of a unique generation of individuals who simultaneously arrived at the idea of “art therapy" in the 1940s. His legacy and impact on mental health practice began when he became conscientious objector during World War II; that juncture not only changed his life, it set him on a path to help found a new field and profession.

Getting into the Flow for the New Year

Whether you call it getting into your creative zone or flow, make sure you make it part of your health and wellness practice in the new year. Give yourself time to do what you love and reap the benefits of optimal experiences.

Expressive Arts and Resilience: Hope for Ferguson

Resilience can be defined as having flexibility and strength in the face of stress and having what is needed to overcome adversity, learn from life experiences, and move on with vitality and passion. But can we learn from what we know about resiliency to help a community challenged by upheaval and historical trauma heal?

Children’s Art as Visual Narrative

The refugee youth of Burma who have experienced displacement, violence, war, human trafficking, and other atrocities clearly show us how visual narratives tell a story when words cannot. Their creative work is also a call to mobilize peace building efforts in Burma and capitalizes on art expression as way to communicate hopes and dreams of reparation and renewal.

Creative Art Therapies: Health or Mental Health Professions?

Are the creative arts therapies [art, music and dance/movement therapy] mental health or allied health professions? The answer may be “both,” but in truth, the answer is "it's complicated." As the Scarecrow said, "This way is a very nice way." And "It's pleasant down that way, too." "Of course, some people do go both ways."

Art Therapy + CBT Treats Panic Disorder--Maybe

Does art-based therapy plus cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) reduce symptoms in panic disorder or generalized anxiety disorder? The answer is a very tentative "maybe" according to a recent study's findings. Despite the limited participant size and other limitations, it's a study worth considering for many reasons.

Expressive Arts Therapy: A Creative Career Path

In past posts, I have explored and explained art therapy and the creative arts therapies as a career paths. But there is another career pathway that the “creative therapist” may want to consider as an option; it’s called an expressive arts therapist and it involves using all the arts to help clients communicate, express, explore and make meaning.

Creative Arts Therapy and Expressive Arts Therapy

Creative arts therapies or expressive arts therapy are dynamic, participatory approaches that have been around for more than 70 years. Here is a basic guide to these methods that capitalize on nonverbal expression of thoughts and feelings as a central part of therapy and whole-brain intervention.

Artist in Healthcare Certification

The arts [art, music, dance, creative writing and performance] in healthcare have a long history in hospital settings. Now artists who work in these settings are embarking on their own certification to validate their work in hospitals. Here's the latest news on the development of this credential and why it is emerging in the array of expressive arts services in medicine