Written by D’Auna Barton, LMFTA
What is Expressive Therapy?
Expressive Therapy uses different modalities such as paint, poetry, journaling, clay, and sand-tray to express emotion and access parts of our brain that are sometimes in “lockdown”.
How can Expressive Therapy help my teen?
Teens can often be in “lockdown”. Sometimes conventional talk therapy alone does not do the trick! Expressive therapy can help unlock emotions in a new way.
1. Expressive Therapy EMPOWERS teens
Being a teenager is a transformative time. This time of becoming can be confusing and overwhelming.
Emotions have a way of storing themselves in our bodies. Fatigue, emotional outbursts, depression can all be signs that emotions are building up inside and are having a hard time releasing.
Through Expressive Therapy, teens can use other parts of their brains to explore their emotions. By given the freedom to express their pain, fear, sadness in other forms can sometimes unlock and release the emotions where words get stuck. This in turn, empowers your teenager.
Expressive Therapy gives your teen a safe space to express their true feelings.
2. Expressive Therapy allows CREATIVITY to heal
Teens have so much going on in their lives. Finding their place, balancing school, friends, family, can all be overwhelming and add stress.
Expressive Therapy allows your teen space and resources to create and explore their needs in a way that is effective and open.
Your teen may choose to bring in their musical instrument and create music about what is going on in their life.
Or perhaps your teen may find it helpful to use paints to explore their pain and tell a story.
Using our creative brains and allowing freedom to explore and create is a healing and effective way of exploring emotion.
3. RELEASE powerful feelings safely through Expressive Therapy
We know that stress, trauma, and anxiety can be stored in the body.
At times, talk therapy is not effective enough in itself to work through those powerful emotions.
Using Expressive Therapy, we work to access emotion that is stored in our bodies, and then find ways to release it in a healthy safe way.
Teens have found empowerment and voice when able to paint their fears, or use clay or sand tray to represent their sadness.
Expressing and releasing does not have to use words. A goal of Expressive Therapy is to be able to access those powerful feelings in safety. And then your teen is supported in releasing them in an expressive way like journaling, using clay, paint, or music.
4. Expressive Therapy offers new ways to COMMUNICATE
Teens can have their own language. It can be hard to understand their inner world.
Parents often try to figure out what is going on inside their teen’s mind and heart and the language barrier can sometimes make it so teens can close up even tighter.
Expressive Therapy allows teens to communicate in ways in which they feel comfortable. It may be through poetry, it may be through music.
Expressive therapy uses art forms and other modalities as tools for teens to share themselves and be heard and understood.
Sometimes teens themselves have trouble understanding their own pain, they themselves may not know what is going on inside their bodies and minds.
Expressive Therapy opens the door to other forms of communication to help teens unlock and discover parts of themselves in a new way.
5. Expressive Therapy helps you and your teen CONNECT
When emotions are swirling around inside of you, it can be hard to create meaning or move through the pain. Expressive Therapy works to connect dots.
Perhaps a teen is having trouble finding themselves. Using creative journaling, the therapist can help the teen identify and create meaning in their lives.
Together the therapist and the teen can explore emotions, create meaning, empower and release fears by using a mixture of modalities.
Our brains and bodies are complicated beautiful vessels, there are many ways we can get in touch with our feelings and work through our pain towards healing.
Expressive Therapy works to unlock stored feelings and then together, the therapist and the teen can connect meaning and healing.
Expressive therapy can connect your teen to themselves, and help them connect to you.
Using Expressive Therapy in family counseling works as a common language. This can look like a family using sand tray together, a family art project, or family poetry.
Together we can access healing in an expressive and creative way!
Are you ready to explore how expressive therapy can help your teen and your family?
Once a week therapy sessions for your teen and your family are highly recommended.
This gives your teen and your family enough time to apply your new skills to everyday life and less time to slip back into unhelpful patterns.
Experience tells us that spreading out appointments draws out the process of overcoming struggles and ultimately results in more sessions needed.
Your teen can be in a better place!
Why not start the process today by scheduling online? We have the day, evening, and weekend appointments available for your convenience.
Not ready to schedule your first appointment yet?
Give us a call and we will be happy to answer your questions (360) 356-8756
Rates information is here.
I look forward to meeting you!
D’Auna Barton, LMFTA