Expressive Art Therapy

Expressive Art Therapy: From Music Therapy to a New Therapeutic Approach, Hip Hop Therapy

People find distinct ways to express themselves. Whether it is music, art, dance, or poetry it all has one goal in mind; to relieve some sort of discomfort. If you’ve ever noticed, whenever you feel unhappy you resort to something that restores your happiness. Sometimes one may not even realize it, but I’m sure you’ve used expressive art therapy before. For example, I never really enjoyed talking to people about my problems. Instead of bottling all of those emotions inside, I always had a journal to record all of my emotions on paper. It was my way of analyzing the issue while still finding a creative way to display them. Writing poems helped me come to terms with my feelings but also helped establish a way to resolve the situation. Similarly, expressive art therapy does the same thing. Expressive art therapy strives to create a therapeutic environment that is beneficial to one’s mental health. Expressive art therapy is a creative way of tapping into your inner self to get a sense of your body, feelings, emotions, and thought processes. The different forms of expressive art therapy are art, dance/movement, drama, music, poetry, and much more.

Expressive art therapy has been around for many centuries. It has played a role in our society for years but wasn’t universally accepted until recently. According to Cathy A. Malchiodi, in Expressive Therapies “History, Theory, and Practice”, she mentions that in the Bible, King Saul used music as a healing method to remove the evil spirits out of his body. Next, she also mentioned that the Egyptians and Greeks used music and art to help alleviate some of the issues that they were facing. Lastly, she states that in World War I when soldiers were mute and unresponsive, with music present it miraculously cured them and they were responsive again. This goes to show that there is a sense of healing in these forms of therapy and that society has been trying to find all sorts of ways to not acknowledge its contributions to mental health.