Kathleen Russ  Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist #52194                   
(408) 219-2467
    14639 Big Basin Way, Saratoga, CA 95070

“Art as a helper in times of trouble, as a means of understanding the conditions of human existence and of facing the frightening aspects of those conditions, as the creation of a meaningful order – these most welcome aids are grasped by people in distress and used by healers who come to their assistance. But the blessings of therapy can reach further: they can remind artists everywhere what the function of art has been and always will be.”

Rudolf Arnheim

time to
explore and discover
personal imagery
in an
encouraging environment.

It is truly amazing and refreshing to be in an environment where judgment and evaluation of any kind are at a minimum or nonexistent. It is freeing and invigorating.

 It is like letting a bird out of a cage.
Natalie Rogers

Expressive Arts

Creativity and play are vital to human existence, yet permission to explore creativity and engage in play diminishes as we age in this culture. Ideally, self-expression through the arts would be an integral part of a healthy and balanced lifestyle for children and adults throughout their lives.

The creative process as an avenue of expression can expand the therapeutic experience in profound ways. When words don’t come easily due to trauma, shame, or fear, the use of imaginal processes and nonverbal means such as drawing, painting, collage, or sand tray can be an effective way of accessing and releasing emotions.

The goal of expressive arts is to facilitate movement from the inside out  for the purpose of self discovery rather than making a “pretty picture.” The creative process helps us capture and illustrate what may be causing our suffering by expressing it through color and symbol. The intent is to play with the images and feelings floating through your mind. The end result might be quite unexpected. This typically is not art to be framed and admired. Rather it is a unique outpouring from your heart and soul. The process can be transformational; our creative potential just needs to be tapped.

Everyone is considered an artist in expressive arts therapy. This approach is designed to access younger parts of ourselves - to paint as a child does, with freedom and abandonment - to paint with a child’s hands and heart. This can be extremely liberating.

"Every child is an artist.

The problem is how

to remain an artist

                                           once he grows up."

Pablo Picasso

Children communicate through play. Therapy with children is a process of exploration and discovery as they communicate through the use of symbolic play using puppets, hands-on art activities, music, and storytelling. Play is the language of children.

Adolescents, while still gaining in maturity and sophistication also communicate through the use of their imaginations. As their blossoming egos and confidence in language develops, teenagers can often benefit from journal writing, photography that reveals how they see their world, and utilizing modern modes of communication to share their inner life.

Adults often need some encouragement when it comes to using expressive arts in therapy, depending on how art making was presented to them as a child. The self critical voice can be powerful in the adult mind but once it is set aside, the processing feelings through creativy can yield brilliant outcomes. 


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