Visual Journaling and Expressive Arts: Advanced Approaches to Self-Regulation and Meaning-Making at Historic Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu, New Mexico | November 2 through 6, 2020

Five Half-Days Expressive Arts Therapy Training with Cathy Malchiodi, PhD and Elizabeth Warson, PhD at the fabulous Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico

Georgia O'Keefe

A Unique Week of Learning at Historic Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico! We had such a positive experience in 2017 and 2018 at Ghost Ranch, we have planned another week of learning for 2020. This year we are trying out a new format designed to let you really experience this spectacular part of the Southwest, holding formal coursework each morning [9:00 am- 1:00 pm] and allowing for participants to choose how to spend the afternoons in the studio, hiking around the Ranch or taking side trips to the many locations in the Abiquiu area. Santa Fe, Ojo Caliente and Taos are a few of many ways to experience this region of New Mexico.


Our course will present key trauma-informed expressive arts therapy strategies through a variety of hands-on experiences [individual and group] using principles of self-regulation/co-regulation, safety as a core foundation, embodied awareness, and storytelling through narrative, enactment, movement and improvisation grounded in emerging research and best practices. The key approaches presented in this course can be applied to individuals of all ages, but particular emphasis is on adults from a culturally-responsive, trauma-informed perspective. While the emphasis is on visual journaling as a strategy, participants will be introduced to a variety of brain-wise, body-based approaches to prompt and support psychotherapeutic applications of journaling in practice.

Visual journaling [also called art or drawing journaling] has been identified as both an important and accessible approach in expressive arts therapy, counseling and psychotherapy. It is not only an effective method for self-regulation, but also is a multilayered way that brings together somatosensory, affective and cognitive experiences to express personal narratives and make meaning through images, creative writing, imagination and storytelling. 


In this five-day course, participants will experience a variety of visual journaling approaches that are grounded in emerging research and based on historical foundations of journaling for emotional reparation and wellness. Course objectives include:

  • the core framework of the Expressive Therapies Continuum to guide bottom-up strategies to address trauma;
  • polyvagal theory [Porges, Dana] as a basis for self-regulatory and safety in working with expressive arts and journaling approaches;
  • somatosensory experiences [Levine, van der Kolk] as foundations for embodied awareness in working with traumatic stress;
  • the role of bilateral and other forms of movement to re-establish a "good rhythm" in brain, mind and body;
  • narrative therapy and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy to support meaning making and the construction of reparative stories; 
  • the role of process, media and materials in the continuum of practice;
  • culturally-resonant principles in the application of visual journaling and expressive arts therapy in practice. 

While this course is mostly "hands-on," participants will also learn how to design developmentally-appropriate, trauma-informed and culturally responsive visual journaling practices through lecture and group discussions. 


This course is open to counselors, social workers, psychologists, marriage and family therapists, expressive arts therapists, expressive arts facilitators, creative arts therapists and graduate students. Complete agenda to follow soon! Right now you can register to secure a space as seating will be limited. 

Continuing Education Information:

Visual Journaling and Expressive Arts: Advanced Approaches to Self-Regulation and Meaning-Making qualifies for 20 hours of continuing education credits [4 hours per day].  A $25 processing fee is charged for a continuing education certificate [you can pay with cash or check at the workshop]. All participants will receive a Certificate of Completion as part of the course fee indicating the hours of attendance [20 clock hours].


Counselors/National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). Trauma-Informed Practices and Expressive Arts Therapy Institute has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6557. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC are clearly identified. Trauma-Informed Practices and Expressive Arts Therapy Institute is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs. 


Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors. Trauma-Informed Practices and Expressive Arts Therapy Institute is an Approved Continuing Education Provider by the Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors. Texas no longer requires a provider number, but our previous provider number is 2318.


Art Therapy Credentials Board [ATCB]. The ATCB recognizes a variety of CEC activities, including those in the areas of professional and mental health counseling. These activities are clearly outlined in their recertification standards provided to all ATR-BCs in their recertification year and on their website. A minimum of six CECs must be earned in the area of ethics each cycle. If you are licensed as an art therapist in your state, please check with your state board to verify what types of CEC activities are acceptable for license renewal.


Art Therapists, Music Therapists, Drama Therapists and Dance Therapists. Please check with your credentials board or state license board to ensure that any courses you take can be applied for credential renewal.


California Marriage and Family Therapists, Social Workers, Educational Psychologists and Professional Counselors. As of July 1, 2015, the State of California /Board of Behavioral Sciences [BBS] amended its regulations for continuing education providers to include National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) as a "board-recognized approval agency." If you are licensed as a marriage and family therapist, social worker, educational psychologist or professional clinical counselor in California, NBCC Approved Continuing Education Providers are recognized by the BBS to fulfill continuing education requirements. As of July 1, 2015, required CE hours can be accumulated entirely through self-study and distance learning. 


Other Mental Health and Healthcare Professionals. As we continue to expand our offerings we will be expanding our continuing education credits into other areas. Please use the Contact form to provide recommendations for future continuing education needs.

What to Bring to the Course: We will be updating this section over the summer, so please check back. Once we get closer to the dates of the courses, if you are registered you will receive a number of emails to let you know what to bring as well as readings and other information.


To be announced! We will begin each day at 9:00 am and 1:00 pm with a short break mid-morning; Ghost Ranch has food available for purchase at the location. Bodhi's is also a popular place for lunch and is about 10 minutes from Ghost Ranch [excellent posole, salads and sandwiches; you can also shop for food items and locally-made gifts at their marketplace].


Be sure to dress comfortably and in layers; temperatures can vary at this time of year, but are on the cool side especially at night. Also, be sure to bring a water bottle; drinking plenty of water is important at this higher elevation.

Register Here

Early Registration for 5-Morning Visual Journaling at Ghost Ranch, November 2-6, 2020

Register Soon! Limited Seating at this fee.



  • Sold Out

Regular Registration for 5-Morning Visual Journaling at Ghost Ranch, November 2-6, 2020

Regular Registration Fee available after Early Registration Sells Out. Please contact for availability in the Fall.


  • Sold Out

Last Call Registration for 5-Morning Visual Journaling at Ghost Ranch, November 2-6, 2020

If seating is available or if there have been any cancellations-- please call us for information!


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Ghost Ranch Education and Retreat Center

Ghost Ranch | Education and Retreat Center

280 Private Drive 1708, Abiquiu, NM 87510


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Accommodations at Ghost Ranch, please contact the facility directly at this link:

Please refer to "Art Therapy Without Borders and Visual Journaling Course" in November when making your reservations.


Learn more about; there are accommodations at Ghost Ranch but please make your reservations early in order to secure your preference of room. AirBnB is another option to rent apartments, homes or rooms in the area. The Abiquiu Inn is about 10 minutes from Ghost Ranch; for those who do not have transportation, there are often some participants with cars who are willing to provide rides to the Ranch each day. Santa Fe, Ojo Caliente and Taos are nearby, but is a bit of a drive each day-- but you may prefer to stay there as there are more options for accommodations and restaurants. 

Scenery to Make Your Spirit Soar...