Expressive Arts Therapy with @EnsouExpressive

Like many professions, counselling has a requirement for continuous professional development; I sometimes research what’s come up in practice, or follow my preferences, but I like variety and a dose of the unexpected, so I joined @Counselling NorthWest, which runs twelve #CPD sessions a year, across the psychotherapy spectrum, from supervision to GDPR, via tapping meridians to release trauma.

In January,Emma Louise of @EnsouExpressive introduced me to the work of #NatalieRogers and her vision of The Creative Connection. This was intriguing, as she owned and then developed her inheritance from both parents. Carl Roger’s core conditions and the motive to heal, explore and gain insight, are the container for the unknown to come into awareness and be accepted into our being. 

Emma introduced the context for expressive arts, starting with #Jung’s view of the ‘shadow’ as an aspect of our self, and music, visual arts and writing as channels for those experiences we may otherwise block, intentionally or not.

Presenting expressive arts as a practitioner resource as well as for clients, Emma skilfully guided us through gentle body awareness, coming into relationship with others, turning inwards with a guided visualisation. We then drew this with pastels, before writing about the process and finally sharing with one other. Words, she said, written and heard, help us to ground the experience.

Several of us were surprised at how readily deep and complex emotions emerged, as we experienced for ourselves the literal ‘ex-pressing’, getting something out – which can then be acknowledged and understood. The process, even in less than an hour, was a complete cycle of accessing and integrating something I’d mentally shelved.

In conclusion, Emma referenced the psychiatrist and writer @IanMcGilchrist, and the interaction of cranial functions to assess and process experience across both hemispheres of the brain. Thus we move between the creative and the familiar, what is conscious and what is out of of awareness, to satisfy our needs for both movement and security. Expressive art therapy being one way to experience and enjoy both aspects.