Expressive Arts 

“Our creativity is directly connected to our internal energy source and our willingness to face the unknown.” 
                                —Natalie Rogers

 

Arts & Recovery

Expressive Arts uses movement, music, sound, visual arts, drama, play, dance, poetry and creative writing to foster self-expression, insight, creativity, and increase a sense of connection to well-being of self and others. Included here are a number of activities to support recovery and well-being.

Using a Person-Centered Expressive Arts approach can be supportive to children, youth, adults, and communities in crisis, as well as during a transition or in the aftermath of traumatic events. Certain conditions can help to foster creativity and play. These include a nonjudgemental approach, an attitude of curiosity and openness, as well as a desire to cultivate genuine compassion and empathy.

Everyone is creative and creativity can support connection to resilience and re-kindle reconnection to hope. Since trauma can be stored in the body, creative expression can allow the body to speak and to release the tensions and trauma stored. Engaging in activities that include a variety of modalities, such as movement, play, singing, drama, writing and/ or visual arts, help integrate complex challenges and help support meaning making and recovery.

If you'd like to read more, take a look at these articles:

Person-centered expressive arts is unique in that it combines the expressive arts process with the in-depth theory and practice of the person-centered approach of Dr. Carl Rogers; his daughter Natalie Rogers took his work and extended the Roger's legacy.

To learn more, please also see:

IEATA encourages an evolving multimodal approach within psychology, organizational development, community arts and education. By integrating the arts processes and allowing one to flow into another, we gain access to our inner resources for healing, clarity, illumination and creativity.

Activities

 
BodyMap

BodyMap

Creating a "Body Map of Feelings" is a way to increase of awareness about emotions and sensations; it can be used to facilitate a conversation about feelings, and how and where we hold them in our body.

Movement

Movement

During times of trauma, when one’s body is stuck in fight or flight, it is common to obsess over thoughts about the past or worries about the future. Bringing one’s thoughts back to the here and now using sound, breath, body awareness, and movement can be very useful in calming the nervous system, regulating the body, and breaking up the cycle of rumination or catastrophizing.

Creative Brain Dump

Creative Brain Dump

Emotions that are denied or suppressed can end up getting stored in the body and, ultimately, feel much bigger and cause more issues and distress. This directive is a fairly easy, straight-forward way to get pent up energy and emotions out of the body and onto the page or canvas. The result is that they may feel less scary or overwhelming when seen in the form of art or words on a page.

DreamCatching

DreamCatching

Paying attention to and honoring one's dream life is a method of appreciating the complex body-psyche ways of knowing. Dreams carry wisdom and guidance for the soul's journey. The images from dreams can be deep and supportive of the body and psyche, as well as to some, provide support and direction.

Precious Cargo

Precious Cargo

The Precious Cargo exercise is an effective way to connect with one’s power and inner gifts during a time of stress, trauma, or crisis.

Superhero Self

Superhero Self

This activity is designed to give one a sense of self-empowerment and agency as well as help to regulate complex emotions.

StoryTime

StoryTime

As human beings, we need to make sense of and find meaning in the events that happen in our lives. Narrative approaches can help us define the story we are telling ourselves about particular events and how we have been affected by them. Writing out or talking about our stories can help us find our voice, better understand ourselves, and step into our power by giving us a sense of agency over our own lives, as we can change our stories at any time. We give meaning to our experiences.

Anxiety Monster

Anxiety Monster

The objective here is to help kids process their feelings and fears around the unknown. By personifying something that feels scary and a bit mysterious, making it more tangible and allowing kids to dialogue with it can lessen the fear around it and give them a sense of agency over the situation.

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Contact

For further information about Disastershock or joining the Disastershock Global Volunteer Team, please email us:   

Dr. Brian Gerrard gerrardb@usfca.edu | Dr. Sue Linville Shaffer drsueshaffer@gmail.com.

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