In today’s quest for holistic mental wellness, many are finding success outside traditional therapy sessions. One path that has resonated deeply with individuals looking to tap into their innermost emotions and experiences is through the transformative practice of Expressive Art Therapy, also known as Creative Arts Therapy. This multi-faceted approach to healing, anchored in the power of creative expression, can be a powerful tool for mental health advancement. For mental health advocates, therapists, art enthusiasts, and trauma survivors, the understanding of Expressive Art Therapy is not just beneficial but potentially life-changing.

Understanding Expressive Art Therapy

The Subtle Palette of Creative Treatment

At its core, Expressive Art Therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses the creative process of making art to improve a person’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being. The creative process involved in expressing oneself artistically can help people resolve issues as well as develop and manage their behaviors and feelings, reduce stress, and improve self-esteem and awareness. The subjective view of the therapeutic process needs to be respected, and even though a person may not look ‘professionally finished’ as any art piece, it can hold immeasurable value in the realm of healing.

Benefits of Mental Health Treatment

Expressive art alone can foster a sense of serenity and accomplishment, but within a therapeutic space, its benefits are amplified. Clients who struggle to communicate through traditional talk therapy often find a voice in Expressive Art Therapy. The act of creating can serve as a medium for exploring deep-embedded issues, expressing feelings, and finding new and positive ways to cope. In addition, it provides a platform for clients to develop healthy coping mechanisms and gain insight into their struggles.

Interview with an Expert

To unravel the full potential of Expressive Art Therapy, we had the honor of interviewing a practitioner of the art who is also a teammate here at CindyTalks. Johannys Acevedo, a family therapist with a background in drama therapy, shares her extensive insights into the practice.

Insights from a Creative Art Therapist

Johannys Acevedo expounds on the multilayered healing aspects of art therapy, emphasizing the significance of creating a safe space for clients to explore and process their experiences. Through techniques like free-form painting, visual storytelling, and sand play, she has witnessed profound transformations in her clients, many of whom have experienced trauma. With a keen understanding of psychology and the therapeutic process, she highlights the many ways that art is an effective conduit for healing.

Transcription from the Interview

Cindy 2:49

Johannys, you’re a part of the CindyTalks team. You just recently came on, and you’re a therapist, but you have a specialty too! Tell me a little bit about what that is.

Johannys 3:05

Yes, yes. Yes, I joined the team recently, and I’m so excited. It’s such an honor. I’m also a therapist. I am a drama therapist and a couples and family therapist. Drama therapy is part of what is called the creative art therapies. It’s an umbrella that covers different types of therapies that focus on externalizing emotions. There are many of them. There’s art therapy, drama therapy, music therapy, writing therapy, which is writing to process trauma, which is one of my favorites after drama therapy, and there is play therapy that is more specifically geared toward children. 

All of those therapies together create a huge umbrella of what creative art therapies are. What creative art therapies do is that they help the client go deeper into their processing. Talk therapy is amazing, but sometimes our memories are stored in parts of our brain that we cannot access through language, so we need to move right to a different area of our brain to help us bring those memories to the light because we know what stays in darkness doesn’t heal. If we never know why we’re acting the way we do and why we have the triggers we’re having, we’re never going to be able to heal that. What creative arts therapies do is give some tools to the client so they can access that in a safe way, bring it to the light, and start processing it. 

Cindy 5:00

Is creative art therapy just for children, or is it for adults as well? 

Johnannys 5:04

No, it’s for adults, especially for adults. Children naturally play, but adults often lose their ability to play. We think there’s no time to play; it’s all business now. The creative arts therapies really offer adults an opportunity to achieve that healing they’re looking for without really having to talk, without really having to say anything, if they don’t want to. Some people, some adults, are resistant to creative therapy because they think, what’s that going to do for me? But once they start, they discover you go deeper and quicker through these creative therapies. 

When we talk, we tend to read the cues from the other person like, what are they saying with their body language, and sometimes we tend to change what we say based on that, like, oh, maybe I was too forward, or maybe I said that in the wrong way. But when you’re doing creative art therapy, you are with yourself. If you are painting, it’s you and that painting; if you’re creating a sculpture, it is you and that sculpture; if you are creating a movement, it is you and that movement, and so you are the judge in that moment. It brings down the barriers that traditional talk therapy cannot, which is phenomenal. 

I think we need the integration of both, but when you bring this new layer, it allows people to take some of those barriers down, and then they access their subconscious, which is fascinating to me. Through talk therapy, you’re in a lot of control. You’re in your analytical brain, you’re in your left brain, you’re thinking, processing mentally, trying to make sense of what you’re saying, but creative art therapy is messy because your subconscious comes full force as you allow it. People have intense emotions during these sessions because they’ve really dug deep to the core. 

Cindy 7:29

So if I were your client, first of all, how would I find you? I have always thought of any kind of creative therapy as being something for children. 

My daughter went to art therapy during my divorce. It was her pediatrician’s suggestion. It was interesting. She drew a heart, and it had a picture of a man and a woman, a big black line, and a broken heart shape. It was a gigantic picture. I was just really surprised that she drew that because she was so young. So when I’m thinking about that, it’s completely different, though, right, from what you do?

Johannys 8:32

No, not really. I’m a drama therapist, and I focus more on techniques that are more theatrical, like role play and embodiment, but I also include art therapy as I took some courses in that area as well. All of them integrate beautifully. Some clients are not going to be comfortable with anything theatrical, that’s too out there for them. Art therapy can feel more contained and have a slow pace, and it doesn’t have to be theatrical in any way. For some clients, that’s going to be more helpful.

Art is something that comes so naturally to kids, that’s what they do. They create with pencils, crayons, and paint. It’s a very unique and special way for them to express what they’re experiencing. That heart that your daughter drew, and then the big black line in the middle, there’s some interpretation that art therapists could do without judgment. Just like looking at the facts, what do we see objectively in this picture? Usually, black tends to be connected to grief and to losing someone. The color black is very connected to when people are grieving. That’s usually the color that people who have lost a loved one or have gone through a divorce, black is usually a color that you can see a lot in those kinds of drawings. When you’re trained in this way, you look at the picture, and it’s so revealing. Definitely, this child is picking up on what’s going on. Sometimes we think kids are oblivious, like they don’t know what’s going on or they’re in their own little world, but they’re picking up everything that’s going on around them. We give them an opportunity to externalize that through these ways. Probably, if you asked your daughter what’s happening, what’s on your mind, what’s in your heart, she would be quiet.

I know that from my son. He had an accident this past week, and it was so crazy. I’ve been asking him, and he’s not talking about it. He loves drawing, so when I give him a piece of paper, he draws what’s going on, and then I’m able to see what’s in his little brain. 

But again, this is not only for kids. When trauma happens, our body stores it. The body stores our trauma. There’s a book called The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel A. Van der Kolk. He talks about how trauma enters through all of our senses, whether we’ve witnessed something visually, experienced something tactile or heard something. Our brain starts to try to make sense of that experience, and that trauma is going to be stored in our body. There’s another quote that says, “The body remembers what the mind forgets.” by Jay Moreno, who is a drama therapist and talks about the same thing because our mind is trying to protect us. Its goal is to keep you alive no matter what, so if this memory is hindering your thriving, the mind says, let’s just suppress that and put it over here, but our bodies will remind us.

I remember I had a client who was living in this apartment, and she had people living on top of her. When she heard the steps and every time she was aware of the steps, she had a panic attack, and she was so overwhelmed. She didn’t know what was going on. Later in therapy, we slowly, through drama therapy, discovered and by some reenactments of her house and what she was experiencing at the moment and me being the people in her family, we realized that those steps reminded her of when her father arrived in the home and abused them, physically abused them. 

It’s so crazy that our bodies are giving us signals all the time. I say that our bodies are our best communicators. Our bodies love us, and our body wants us to be okay, so when you have a headache, you should pay attention. There’s something that’s not okay. We’re so quick to fix physical things, like, oh, my back hurts, oh, I’m gonna go to the chiropractor, or whatever it is. In the book, Van de Kolt talks about veterans that he worked with who had these crazy outbursts of anger from nowhere. He started realizing that they were experiencing PTSD. He realized that they were relieving in their minds what they experienced in combat. When they hear fireworks, they react to them. So their bodies stored all of that trauma.

When we give our bodies the opportunity to tell us what’s going on, it will, and when we tap into a space of safety and containment for us to heal, we can go through that. Finding people who can create that space for us is huge. 

It’s such an honor for me to witness people’s stories because I don’t think a lot of people don’t have that opportunity. We go through life with our pain, and we carry it, and we continue until someone says no, you can bring it out, and you can look at it, and you can heal from it. I always say we never get over trauma, that’s not something that we do, we get through it. We walk every single day through it, getting a little better. Sometimes there are setbacks, and then we keep moving forward. Being someone who holds the hand of this person walking through that, it’s a privilege. 

Cindy 15:41

Do you ever have clients who are completely resistant to working with you or this type of therapy?

Johnannys 15:42


Cindy 15:43

How does that work? 

Johnannys 15:43

I love that question! I always say that the client is the expert on their own lives. I come here as a companion. I’m not bringing a toolbox to fix you. That’s not my job; my job is to create a space, holding space that allows you to discover what you need to discover. So if the client comes in, first of all, if they found me, because I’m a couples and family therapist, and they don’t know I’m a drama therapist, I always share with them, this is something I do, and I give them the opportunity to either do traditional talk therapy, but I let them know, I look through the eyes of creativity, and I’m going to look at their reality through these eyes. I ask permission. Can I bring this up for three sessions from now and offer any intervention that I think is going to be really helpful for their situation? Most of the time, when they experience it, they realize how powerful it is. They see that it’s not about being a good actor, it’s not about being Picasso, it’s not about being in Dancing with the Stars, you know, it’s not, and it’s not over that this is about the process, it’s not the product. The product, we can literally shred that painting, we can just forget about the enactment we just did, and the process that you went through to bring that out is what’s valuable; that’s where the healing is. Because we are performers, as adults, we are just interested in the product, most of the time, it takes a little bit of time for me to help them understand that, we’re not interested in the product, we’re not interested in how good your painting is. 

When I did my training, I would be like, “Oh my gosh, I’m so bad at this, I should not be painting right now.” It’s the same for my clients. They will be painting, and they’re like, this is horrible. And I have to gently remind them that it’s not about the product; it’s about the process. Just stay present on what’s going on in your body as you’re painting this. What are you feeling? Is your heart racing? Are your palms sweating? Is there a knot in your tummy? What’s going on inside your body as you are creating this? And that’s where the value is. That’s why I love writing therapy as well. When you connect art therapy or drama therapy with writing, it is such a beautiful pair. For some people, as they’re writing, they’re like, oh my gosh, this is what just happened. It comes in full force, the realization of the healing process they just went through.

Cindy 18:36

Wow. So are you creative? Are you a good artist? 

Johannys 18:39

Should I give you my therapeutic answer, haha?!

Cindy 18:43

Your real answer! Would you say, oh, I’m a good artist, or are you drawing stick people? 

Johannys 18:50

I draw, I draw stick people. I do love painting. I’m not a painter. I would not consider myself a painter. And that’s why I wanted to focus my Masters in drama therapy because I know art, I can appreciate art, and I love engaging art, but I was a teacher and actress before becoming a therapist. Acting came more naturally to me than painting, but I use those techniques in sessions because they’re really, really powerful. For some parents, like you, when they see their kids drawing, I usually have to help them not take it personally because they’re going to show everything because we’re working with the subconscious. They are just painting, just drawing, just using figurines. I have to help parents understand that this is not about you; this is not about your experience; it’s about their experience. I always tell them it’s powerful that they’re actually saying something through their painting. The scary thing is when they’re not saying anything.

I had a client who had selective mutism. Selective mutism is when a child that may be up until four or five years old is talking, and all of a sudden, they go mute. They stopped talking to anyone, they don’t talk to their parents or teachers, nothing, you don’t hear their voice. It’s not a physical thing, although as they stop using the vocal cords, they start getting damaged, but they stop talking completely. Usually, you can pinpoint it to a traumatic experience, like abuse or a lot of yelling in the home, so the kid kind of shuts down inside. They witness a really, really impactful accident, anything like that can trigger selective mutism. So this little girl was six, and she had selective mutism. Their parents were Latino, actually. So for me, it was so amazing that they were seeking help because, in the Latino community, that’s not something that you usually see, you know, it’s considered your weak, like, why are you going through therapy, you know, that’s not what you do. So for me, it was huge that they were seeking help. With this little girl, I use sand therapy, which is part of the drama therapy umbrella. You bring a tray with sand and a bunch of little figurines, all the animals, all the people, and places, and they create their play. She wasn’t going to talk to me, and I knew that, at least at the beginning. Through the sand therapy, as we progressed, we were able to realize that she had been abused. The parents had no idea. She was talking one day, and she stopped talking the next day like it was just a switch for her. That’s when our work started. Being able to see, oh, this is what happened, now we can help support her and help her feel safe in the world again.

Cindy 22:23 

So just out of curiosity, did her parents abuse her or a family member?

Johannys 22:25

No, a family member.

Cindy 22:26

If there were a child that was abused by their parent, most likely they wouldn’t get help for that child unless an outsider found out. Right?

Johannys 22:49

Right. Yes, yes. 

Cindy 22:50

Or a caregiver was like, okay, we need to get some help, and we need to get to the bottom of this. Right?

Johannys 22:49

Hopefully, yes, that’s what you would expect from the caregivers, right? To be able to get that help for the child. I think that we sometimes live so quickly that we don’t pay attention to our kids’ cues and what they’re telling us with their behavior, but when you have something as dramatic as this, you know, your kid’s talking one day, and stops talking the next, you have to question yourself what happened here? 

Cindy 23:27

Wow. Johannys, tell me a little bit about you. I already know you’re like the most magnificent mom. How many children do you have?

Johannys 23:38

Like, 13! Three. I have three boys. 

Cindy 23:47

And you live in Florida? Miami?

Johannys 23:49

 Florida. I moved here from Seattle two and a half years ago. 

Cindy 23:57

Okay! What are the things that you have a passion for? What are the things you do every day that bring you joy? 

Johannys 24:11

Yes. I love baking sourdough. It’s my favorite thing to do. I just now have a loaf on my counter to bring to a neighbor. I actually started doing it with my friend Elizabeth during the pandemic in Seattle, and I was hooked. And now it’s my favorite thing to do, to make bread. I love to dance salsa. I married the only Puerto Rican who doesn’t dance! I love you, babe, if you’re watching me. He can dance; he just doesn’t like dancing, so I’m like, really? I love, love, I’ve always loved dancing. 

Cindy 24:48

What inspires you to get up every day and live life? 

Johannys 25:02

Honestly, what inspires me is my three children and helping them be humans who love people. It also inspires me to better my community. I was talking to my sister about the idea of community. Sometimes I go through my life without knowing who my neighbors are, and so what inspires me is to be there for others in any way. If it’s bringing bread, or if it’s in, having a conversation on the phone, if it’s going and getting coffee, I love being involved in people’s lives, that inspires me, really looking for connection. 

When I had my private practice, the name of my practice was Connected Family Therapy. I think that when you connect with someone and see them for who they are, it can change that person’s day.

Cindy 26:06 

Is there somebody who inspires you? 

Johannys 26:10

My mom.

Cindy 26:13

Your mom? Aww! What does she do? 

Johannys 26:13

She’s right now taking care of my dad, who had a stroke a year and a half ago. She cares for my nephews as well. She’s one of these women that, if she were the President of the United States, I mean, I can tell you, this will be, we would have it in order. She does it all and does it all with so much love. I’ve never heard her complain, and even when she’s sick, I’ve never heard her complain in my life. She inspires me. I literally try to be like her every single day. 

Cindy 26:55 

Beautiful. I was just having dinner with somebody, and he was telling me something which I thought was really fascinating. I had to ask you. So in Seattle, there’s the Frey Museum, and it’s affiliated with the University of Washington. Right now, there’s an exhibition on artists who have Alzheimer’s. It gives insight into what they’re thinking and what they’re expressing. I thought it was interesting. I wonder if the colors portray an emotion or maybe the shape or if they emphasize different lines. If we were to sit at home and just paint something or draw something, do you think that’s a good therapeutic use for most people? 

Johannys 28:22

It is. Specifically, in the arts, everything has a meaning. If a client chooses, say, colored pencils over paint or pastels over acrylics. Even that choice, subconsciously, tells a lot to the therapist because, for example, pencils are very contained, right, like colored pencils are going to give you a very contained, very structured result. If you use paint, paint is messy. So you’re going to see that a lot of kids and adults that have been specifically through sexual trauma mostly never choose paint, just because it feels too messy, it goes too out of control, it feels too trigger to their sensory activation. And so even that, what I choose first as my medium in itself in a therapeutic session says a lot. 

Then you have the positioning, and you were saying that your daughter drew this huge picture, right? The positioning of the work on the page says a lot too. If you have a client who draws this little thing on this little corner and doesn’t use the rest of the paper, that can tell you so many things, it can be that that client feels trapped, that client has very low self-esteem, that client feels disconnected from the rest of the world, you know, so many things that just that if you use the whole paper, then that’s a different thing. If they use the middle, one side over the other, all of that. 

One thing that is huge when specifically kids draw their families is noticing if they left themselves out. So if they draw their whole family, but they didn’t draw themselves, that tells you a whole bunch of what the dynamic is in that family 

So what you’re saying about this exhibition, the colors, the shape, every single thing has a meaning. Sometimes you just look at a picture, and you’re like, this is really abstract, I have no idea what this is about. Because it’s the product of internal processing, unless sometimes you talk to the artist, you will assign your personal meaning to that. The cool thing about art is that the meaning you assign has to do with your own experience, but it tells you a lot about where you are in life. For example, I saw a picture, and because I am still nursing my son, I see a mother nursing, and the person next to me sees an airplane arriving at an exotic island because we’re in different seasons of life. It’s really important when it comes to art; that’s what I love about it. It’s so inviting and for everyone in any part of the world. Art brings people together, and art helps you connect with yourself. 

Bringing that into your process of healing, I will never advise you to engage in an art therapy intervention by yourself. You definitely can journal, like journaling on your own, writing about it, drawing things, but processing it. I always say it should be contained. It’s a sandwich, I open, my clients open to me, in the middle, we process, and then I close them. Closing is huge because I don’t want my clients leaving my office and then being triggered throughout the day when they are at work. Closing is huge. This process should happen within a contained space. 

Cindy 32:18

What if a client gets triggered and you’re not there? Tell us a little bit about that. I think a lot of people don’t even know what a trigger is, or if they do get triggered, they feel like they’re going crazy. 

Johannys 32:39

Yeah. Especially if you have been shut down because of your triggers. If someone has made you feel bad about how you have reacted to something, you think, what do I do with this?

One of the things that I do a lot, and this is very common in creative art therapies, is psychoeducation. We are going not only to help our clients heal and go through the process, but we’re gonna give them psychoeducation tools to understand why they’re going through. So say this client comes because they are experiencing depressive symptoms and they are not eating, they’re not sleeping, they feel sad most of the day, we’re going to give education of what’s happening in your brain that this is going on. What’s happening in your body that this is going on? How can you identify when the trigger is coming up? Then, we help them understand what those triggers are and give them tools to work through them. Like if it’s anxiety, maybe one trigger can be when it’s Sunday and that Monday you have to work, that Sunday, you’re anxious all day long. Okay, what can you what can you do? So these are some tools you can use to do some things you can do. You can sit down and write down all this in your head, like doing a brain dump of what you’re feeling in the moment. What are you feeling right now about Monday? I always love doing this. This is part of the drama therapy. Imagine the worst-case scenario. What’s the worst thing that can happen tomorrow at work that is creating that anxiety? Let’s talk about that, let’s bring it here. OK, your boss will yell at you, okay? What will happen after that? When we play out, not playful, but in a roleplay way, when we see things very close, they feel so big when we gain perspective, and we talk them out, it’s like, oh. I have clients all the time being like, Oh, I can’t do that. That doesn’t sound that bad. In my head, it was huge. And it’s true in our heads, it feels so big and so impossible to tackle, to tolerate, to go through, but when we do talk about it, and someone else gives us permission to feel whatever we’re feeling, then we’re able to be like, okay, I rehearsed this, tomorrow’s Monday, but these are the things I that can do. 

Understanding triggers and having a toolbox is important. Most of the work happens outside of the therapy session. Because there’s a lot that happens there, but outside, like you’re saying, when this person is not with you, helping them breathe through, helping them ground and regulate when you’re not there, giving them these tools is, it’s really, really huge and important.

Cindy 35:38

Wow, okay. You are now part of the CindyTalks team, and you’re bilingual.

Johannys 35:47

Yes! Si, si, si!

Cindy 35:50

You’re translating Under the Orange Blossoms to Spanish and transcribing the website and videos. What do you think about this process of reaching Hispanic culture? Do you feel that there’s any need?

Unknown 36:25

Yes. In the Hispanic community, there are a lot of taboos. In any community, but the Hispanic community, this specific area of abuse, you don’t talk about it. The sad thing is that happens generationally. So you have abuse happening from the father to their child to their grandkids, and no one’s talking about it, and no one’s saying anything. Having a resource like this, like your website and your book in Spanish, can really allow people who would never talk about this to realize that it needs to be talked about, stopped, fixed, and dealt with. 

It opens that door to a lot of people from different countries because Spanish is a big language, and a lot of people speak Spanish. Your book is such a beautiful story of resiliency. When people can relate and say I went through this, or my child went through this and know there’s hope. I think that’s the one thing that I have taken away from your book, the hope that it brings, the possibility of healing, and the bravery of stepping out. From a drama therapy perspective, you inspire people to take some perspective, see your reality for what it is, and take some kind of control of your healing. 

Thinking about people that I know in my life who don’t speak English, for them to read a book like that and have access to these resources is really cool. In the world we live in, I think it’s so beautiful to create spaces where people are welcome and break that language barrier. Part of the reason why I said yes to this project with you is because, as I said earlier, connecting with people is huge, and language can sometimes be a barrier to that. When you take away that barrier, you have the vulnerability, and then you have the opportunity to connect with that person. 

Cindy 39:00

Hope is such a crucial part of our existence. We always want to know what we’re going through, that we’re going to live a better life, and more that we can come through. Humans are resilient.

You’re right about the cultural aspect of it. We say I don’t want my children or others to go through this, but sometimes you have to say, no, we’ve got to change this; we have to speak up; we need to talk about these things that are all old, and we cannot keep silent. I love the fact that you are translating this work because you’re so vibrant, educated, and passionate about what you do. I can’t thank you enough for being on our team. We’re so blessed and so lucky to have you. 

Johannys 40:09

I’m so excited. I’m really, really excited. I’ve told so many people about translating your book into Spanish! It just makes me so excited to create this. You know, right now, I’m staying home with my children most of the time, and so with this kind of work, I have the opportunity to bring my passion for therapy and culture together. It’s really beautiful. I have to thank you for giving me the opportunity because I’m just so thrilled. I can’t wait. I cannot wait to see how many people your book is going to continue to impact and help and uplift in the midst of such, you know, dark times. Sometimes that’s all people have–a book, a memoir of someone else’s experience that can help them walk through until they have the bravery to do it too, actually face abuse. Books are really powerful. They’re really, really powerful. 

Cindy 41:29

Well, Johannys, it was so lovely talking to you. I think you’ve enlightened a lot of people about what you do and your perspective on creative art therapies. Could you share how to find a therapist?

Johannys 41:37

Yes, yes. I always say choosing a therapist is like getting that really good pair of shoes that feel really well, and you can walk with them comfortably. You can put on one shoe that feels good, but then there are some shoes that feel like you’re walking on clouds. That’s the same thing with a therapist, you want to find a good fit. I’ve had clients come to me and say, no, it’s not the best fit and that’s perfect. It’s important for you to find a person that aligns with your values. It’s funny, but older people used to see me and say, you’re so young. I would assure them that I do have experience and know what I’m doing, but I think it’s huge for you to feel comfortable enough with that therapist. There are a lot of criteria when you look for one, but you can go to Psychology Today or Better Help Now. Those two resources allow you to put in specific criteria, like if it’s for kids, if it’s specifically to help with trauma, ADHD, self-regulation, growth, or whatever it is. You can enter your zip code and choose the criteria to filter, such as a drama therapist or music therapist or someone that is a Christian, whatever it is, and all of those little details. Usually, therapists have a free consultation, and you can go and get to know them. We’re in the era of the vibe, right? Sometimes you’re like, oh, that’s not a good vibe, and that’s great. You can move on to the next one until you find a good fit for you. I always say even the first step that you take to call and make an appointment, the research says that there’s healing happening. Your brain is already rewiring because you are moving toward hope and change. We always say if if it’s your husband that needs therapy, have him call, don’t make that appointment for him. Have him call because, in that action, you are already creating new neural pathways in your brain toward healing.

Practical Applications and Techniques

Incorporating Expressive Art into Daily Life

For those intrigued by art therapy but who may not have access to a trained therapist, integrating small art rituals into daily life can yield significant mental health benefits. Drawing mandalas, creating a visual journal, or engaging in mindful doodling can all serve as relaxing and reflective exercises. This integration can be as simple as carrying a sketchbook and pencils to jot down feelings during the day or setting aside a regular ‘art time’ to process emotions visually.

DIY Exercises for Self-Healing

Simple yet effective exercises such as creating a self-portrait, drawing a safe space, or expressing an emotion through color can open new pathways for understanding and managing mental well-being. These exercises do not require any preconceived artistic talent and are accessible to all. By engaging in these practices, individuals can take charge of their mental health journeys, one stroke at a time.


The exploration of healing through art is not only a profound avenue for understanding oneself but also an underutilized resource in the mental health community. Expressive Art Therapy offers a unique channel for individuals to process, heal, and grow. In a world where the magnitude of words can often feel inadequate, art can speak volumes. Healing is an ongoing process, and the art of our lives can be our most compelling work. Whether practicing on your own or seeking guidance from a professional, art therapy has the potential to provide meaningful breakthroughs. It’s not about creating a masterpiece – it’s about creating peace of mind.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *