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Expressive Arts and Play Therapy – A Workshop Review

art-play-therapyReview by Annabella Hagen, LCSW, RPT-S

It can truly be said that John Burr’s Expressive Arts Therapy Workshop was a recharger and refresher course to remember why we do what we do. It’s about making a difference and helping our clients learn to take small steps towards healing from their challenges.

John took us through a journey –our own journey.  It was personal, but by doing what we did during the workshop, we will be able to help clients revisit their own journey as well.

One segment that stood out to me was the creation of heroes and villains. Sometimes our clients experience so much pain that they end up focusing more on the pain and suffering than on their positive characteristics, experiences, and strengths. We can help them process their pain and discover that there is more to their lives.  We can invite them to create a hero and a villain in their lives and find out more about themselves.  The villain and the hero may live within them, but perhaps they are actual people in the client’s lives.  We can invite our clients to create a villain and a hero and wait for them to tell us their story.

John’s workshop was a great reminder to be attuned to our clients’ emotional needs. We need to remember to be client-centered therapists and follow them where they need to go.  Through expressive arts our clients can certainly express what they are not able to say verbally.

We all have a journey and our clients do too. The insights they gain are invaluable, and we can be the witness to their healing process.