Expressive Arts Therapy is the most powerful therapy modality in adolescent care. I find Expressive Arts Therapy to not only be effective in helping to engage adolescents in their treatment process, but also to probe more deeply into their thoughts and feelings (subconscious), than it would ever be possible within an exclusive talk or cognitive behavioral therapy session.
The BalanCHIng® Method for Teens is a synergistic combination of
TRADITIONAL THERAPIES: Talk Therapy & Gestalt Therapy
EXPRESSIVE ART THERAPIES: Art Therapy (Drawing Painting, Collages, Crafts etc.), Dance/Movement Therapy, Drama Therapy, Written and Narrative Therapies
ENERGY MEDICINE: NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programing), EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), Reiki, Trance Therapy and Guided Imagery (Inner Child Work), Qigong and Systemic (Family) Constellations
The overall purpose of Expressive Arts therapies is to provide teens with alternative methods of expression that reaffirms their emotional experiences, and provides new perspectives of, and access to, their thought processes. The beauty of these creative therapies, especially when used in combination with Talk Therapy sessions, is the opportunity for teens to feel more free to engage the creative activity, which in turn gives them indirect access and insight into their emotions and thoughts. In my experience, it’s common for teens to feel less pressure and anxiety about fully taking part in the Expressive Arts therapies, because of the context and indirect nature of the process. As a result, adolescents are able to then further evaluate and reflect upon the work occurring in other areas of their treatment.
The BalanCHIng® Method for Teens in and of themselves is a very holistic, but above all a “multimodal approach” to Trauma and Anxiety treatment, in which teens can “flow” into and out of a number of different experiences, in order to gain the most thorough and powerful insight to themselves that’s possible. This perspective on adolescent treatment in general marries well with my goals and approach to individualize every treatment plan, in order to maximize each adolescent’s ability to engage in treatment and therefore, achieve recovery.
From the perspective of the Expressive Arts Therapies, gaining insight into oneself is the most primary and powerful step of effective treatment and recovery, and therefore, expanding the means by which adolescents can gain such access to themselves is where these creative forms of therapy can be so useful. It’s common, for example, for adolescents to be unaware of some of the reasons or causes behind their behaviors, even while they might make a sincere effort in Talk Therapy sessions to discover them. However, in Expressive Arts Therapy sessions, because of the indirect approach to accessing this emotional and mental space, teens find a way to “let go” of inhibitions and resistance they may have to the treatment. Then, teens can take the discoveries they’ve made in the creative sessions to begin working through and addressing in Talk Therapy, creating a wonderfully complimentary process. They also learn tips and tricks as well as proven techniques from Energy Medicine that can be applied in whenever they face a challenging situation.