The International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS) (Foa et al, 2009) provides a comprehensive summary of the role of the creative art therapies, including art therapy, in the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The ISTSS statement underscores the growing interest the relationship between the creative arts therapies and the brain, including how the brain processes traumatic events and the possibilities for reparation through art, music, movement, play, and drama therapies.
Creative interventions have been formalized through the disciplines of art therapy, music therapy, dance/movement therapy, drama therapy or psychodrama, poetry therapy, and play therapy, including sand tray therapy. Each discipline has been applied in psychotherapy and counseling with individuals of all ages and particularly children for more than 50 years. Art, music, dance, drama, and poetry therapies are referred to as “creative arts therapies” because of their roots in the arts and theories of creativity. These therapies and others that utilize self-expression in treatment are also called “expressive therapies” (Malchiodi, 2005). Expressive therapies are often defined as the use of art, music, dance/movement, drama, poetry/creative writing, bibliotherapy, play, and sand tray within the context of psychotherapy, counseling, rehabilitation, or medicine. Additionally, expressive therapies are sometimes referred to as “integrative” when used in combination in treatment. These individual approaches are defined as follows:
Counseling is one mental health profession that has a growing interest in using drawing, photography, and other art forms such as music, play, drama and dance/movement to enhance counseling interventions with individuals, groups and families. Many art therapists in the US, for example, are now licensed as professional or mental health counselors or in California, as marriage and family therapists. In 2004, "creativity in counseling" was formalized within the American Counseling Association (ACA) as its 19th Division, the Association for Creativity in Counseling (ACC). But before that, creative approaches to treatment have had a long history within the fields of psychology, psychotherapy, psychiatry and counseling, including the work of Natalie Rogers, daughter of person-centered and humanistic psychologist Carl Rogers. Natalie Rogers integrated her father's person-centered and humanistic principles with expressive arts therapies. Other powerful advocates include Abraham Maslow, Rollo May, Virginia Satir, Bunny Duhl, and Peggy Papp, all of whom in some way saw counseling as a creative endeavor. Many counselors have embraced these approaches because they reflect the field's collective beliefs in human potential, diverse communication, and authentic self-expression.
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