Our Philosophy...

The Trauma-Informed Practices and Expressive Arts Therapy Institute is dedicated to teaching trauma-informed, creative intervention that integrates neurodevelopment, somatic approaches, mindfulness, and positive psychology. In particular, it supports the integrated, multi-modal use of expressive arts including approaches in art, music/sound, creative writing, storytelling, dance/movement, imaginative play, integrative arts, and mind-body approaches for recovery and wellness in children, adults and families. These approaches assist individuals in learning how mind and body respond to the sensory aspects of traumatic events and how to enhance personal resilience and posttraumatic growth. Courses taught by Institute faculty are based on principles of creative arts therapies, expressive arts therapies, mind-body methods, and somatic approaches. These practices are informed by contemporary research in trauma intervention, neurodevelopment and related fields.


You can read more about the following topics by selecting from the topics on the sub-menu: creative arts therapies [also sometimes called expressive arts therapy when applied in an integrated, multi-modal way]; mindfulness/mind-body approaches; attachment and positive psychology.

Calm Through Creativity: How Arts Can Aid Trauma Recovery from the National Clearinghouse on Families and Youth


It takes a lot of effort for the brain to deal with trauma. Whether because of post-traumatic stress disorder or the many adaptive behaviors that victims use instinctively in threatening situations, the traumatized brain is constantly on high-alert, particularly its lower regions, where survival instincts originate.


Simple artistic activities like drawing or sculpting clay can soothe those lower regions, which is why arts therapists argue that their methods can help trauma victims calm down and release some of that mental tension. These evidence-informed therapies use creativity to raise victims’ awareness of their physical and mental states and build resilience and a sense of safety. Counselor and author Cathy Malchiodi, who has pioneered Trauma-Informed Art Therapy and Trauma-Informed Expressive Arts Therapy, claims that the use of music, art and other creative activities grant victims a means of expressing the effects of trauma even after therapy ends.


When the lower-brain’s instincts are over-activated, they can inhibit people’s ability to perform higher cognitive functions until they have started healing from trauma. “Teens who are stressed may have difficulty answering questions about their drug use, or about making goals and plans for the future,” Malchiodi says. However, as she and other researchers (including child psychiatrist Bruce Perry) have found, these effects can be reversed with therapies that rebuild the brain from the ground up. Read More Here...