Expressive Arts Therapy and Traumatic Stress: Brain-Wise and Body-Based Approaches with Children and Families | One Day Training at Queen's House Retreat & Renewal Center, Saskatoon SK Canada

May 11, 2020

Faculty: Cathy Malchiodi, PhD, LPCC, LPAT, ATR-BC, REAT

Expressive Arts Therapy and Traumatic Stress: Brain-Wise and Body-Based Approaches with Children and Families 


Expressive arts therapy is part of the current forefront of emerging methods that incorporate both neuroscience (brain-wise) research and somatosensory (body-wise) findings within the contemporary treatment of traumatic stress. This experiential workshop emphasizes the importance of integrative expressive methods in trauma reparation, underscoring three essential reparative foundations—mutual attunement, self-regulation and safety. Through movement, image making, storytelling, dramatic enactment, improvisation, creative writing, play and imagination, participants will experience various approaches they can immediately apply to work with children, adults, families and groups to support these essential components of trauma-informed treatment. Material presented draws not only from the field of expressive arts therapy, but also from polyvagal theory, social engagement system, interoception, sensorimotor psychotherapy, sensory integration and bilateral work, somatic theory and narrative approaches.


Participants will learn a four-part model for trauma-informed practice; a three-part framework for “bottom-up” intervention and a variety of body-based strategies emphasizing body-based strategies through a variety of arts-based approaches. The first half of the day introduces participants to arts-based techniques that capitalize on the embodied and movement-based nature of the expressive arts to establish attunement through synchrony and rhythm; support self-regulation and co-regulation; and develop an internalized sense of safety through experiences that re-sensitize individuals to pleasant and enlivening sensations and memories. The second half of the workshop explains a three-part, “bottom-up,” brain-wise and body-based expressive arts framework for arts and play-based approaches in work with traumatic stress. Participants will experience this framework through group storytelling, movement, musicality, improvisation, image making, creative writing and play not only as trauma-informed strategies, but also to demonstrate the essential role of connection and community in trauma recovery. No previous arts experiences are required--just come prepared to engage your capacity for self-expression and imagination.


Although the training material will be helpful for all children, adults and families experiencing traumatic stress, special attention will be focused on working with children experiencing trauma related to family separation. Conceptual frameworks including trauma-informed healing centered engagement and the impact of social justice and intersectionality are presented as central to empowering individuals of all ages to become active participants in their repair and recovery.


For more information on how to register for this event, please contact Gryba Events at 

Course Objectives:

  • Define Expressive Arts Therapy as an integrative psychotherapeutic approach in mental health and health care; 
  • Recognize at least seven signs of traumatic stress;
  • Understand the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) pyramid in relation to developmental trauma in children and adults throughout the lifespan;
  • Define “healing centered engagement” as a trauma-informed, culturally-relevant model for programming;
  • Learn at least two ways to support attunement and "relational synchrony" through arts-based approaches;
  • Learn at least three ways to support self-regulation and co-regulation through arts-based approaches;
  • Define a "brain-wise and body-based" model (Expressive Therapies Continuum) for designing art-based interventions in a variety of settings;
  • Define somatosensory, affective and cognitive art-based approaches to traumatic stress;
  • Apply at least three ways to support safety through art-based experiences in psychotherapeutic, counseling, mental health, community and educational relationships with individuals experiencing traumatic stress.

Because participants will receive workshop materials electronically before day of the event and because seating will be limited, please be sure to register on site as soon as possible.

Location: Queen's House Retreat & Renewal Center, 601 Taylor St. W, Saskatoon SK Canada