Art Therapy, Expressive Arts and Positive Psychology

Positive Psychology and Trauma-Informed Practice: Is There a Connection between Art and Happiness?


Does the creative process of art making make us happier? The connection between artistic creativity and happiness is a slippery topic at best. After all, what about all those less-than-happy ending stories about artists with depression or other emotional challenges? Doesn't art come from emotional pain? But there is a growing body of research that underscores the contrary, that art has a powerful effect on us in positive ways. To read more about the evidence, see Psychology Today, "Art and Happiness: Is There a Connection?" Also, if you are a member of the LinkedIn community, see the networking group, "Positivity+Happiness Art Therapy" to join in the discussion with other professionals.

Art Therapy and Happiness

THE ART [THERAPY] + HAPPINESS PROJECT is a unique learning opportunity inspired by concepts, activities and techniques we have embraced in our own work as art therapists and in our journeys as artists. We believe that art making is an essential practice that can support our positivity and sense of well-being, expand our awareness, open ourselves to kindness and self-compassion, and deepen our connection to ourselves and others. No previous art experience is required; this online art making and positivity community is open to all creative spirits--artists, non-artists, helping professionals and students-- and first-timers included!


THE ART [THERAPY] + HAPPINESS PROJECT is offered as online, distance learning to give everyone the opportunity to interact with each other through discussion boards and visual gallery spaces. THE PROJECT is self-guided so you can participate at your own pace, join activities that you choose, and engage in the group when it is convenient for you. Because this creative community is a virtual one, you can enjoy it from anywhere via your desktop computer, laptop, tablet technology, or even your smart phone.


The course includes numerous downloadable activities and instructions, video tutorials, and visuals; you will also be able to share your artwork with others and participate in online chat forums, social networking and community activities throughout the course. For those who lead busy lives, you may want to just take advantage of all the downloadable activities and tutorials, and have access to special articles and links that you will be able to apply to your creative work or your art therapy work with others [children, adolescents, adults and groups] after the course is over.


We will be focusing on “The Circle of Posttraumatic Success” as way to stimulate art making activities and creative self-expression. Activities are inspired by the four parts of the Circle ~~ ConnectionCompassionContribution and Courage ~~ and how these four concepts can be Creative pathways to positivity, transformation and well-being through a variety of art making prompts and techniques.