A grade one class was asked three questions: Can you draw? Can you sing? Can you dance? The entire class responded with a resounding "YES!" Five years later the same children were asked the same three questions. The majority of the students responded with a definite “NO -I cannot draw, I cannot sing and I cannot dance."

We learn to limit, judge and criticize ourselves very early in life. When we convince ourselves that we cannot do something, whether it is a creative pursuit or otherwise, we begin to close the door on opportunities for new experiences and learning.

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expressive arts therapy
vancouver expressive arts studio

Art Therapy and Expressive Arts Therapy encourage the encounter with learning and new opportunities through the use of the arts, in a non directive and supportive environment. It is an environment that is free from judgment or ideas about talent or the meaning of what is evoked. Most people who participate in the work do not consider themselves to be " artists" and no particular background, skill, or ability is needed to be involved. Sometimes the arts experience requires tools such as paint, clay or markers. Other times it is as simple as making a movement, a gesture or a sound. Words are also used throughout the work and upon reflection they may take the form of story telling or poetic expression.

While the focus of the work is to allow a direct experience through art making, it also provides a microcosmic look at the basic life patterns, attitudes and beliefs that bind our lives. During a session the participant is encouraged to reflect in a mindful way and to use the arts to develop and explore the basic themes that are either brought to a session or discovered in the process of the arts encounter. The artistic choices, thoughts, feelings and emotions that are shared during a session are considered to be an important part of the experience. They are met by the therapist with respect and sensitivity and are understood through the lens of collaborative exploration, rather than through any kind of interpretation or analysis.

Using the arts in such a way provides a gateway to new thresholds. The participant is able to experiment, shape and open to the surprises that come with the movement into territory that was previously unknown. This opening can provide profound recognition and clarification, and the insights can be applied significantly to alter awareness in everyday life. It is an experience of tremendous empowerment