Welcome to Expressive Arts Therapy

What is Expressive Arts Therapy?

Expressive Arts Therapy is the practice of using imagery, storytelling, dance, music, drama, poetry, movement, dreamwork, and visual arts together, in an integrated way, to foster human growth, development, and healing. It is about reclaiming our innate capacity as human beings for the creative expression of our individual and collective human experience in artistic form. Expressive arts therapy is also about experiencing the natural capacity of creative expression and creative community for healing.

Philosophy of the Appalachian Expressive Arts Therapy Program

Program History

Expressive Arts Therapy at Appalachian State University began under in 1985 with the leadership and vision of Dr. Sally Atkins, faculty member in the Department of Human Development and Psychological Counseling at Appalachian. As a counselor educator and practicing psychologist, Dr. Atkins began offering a course called Therapy and the Expressive Arts to support students in harnessing the power of the arts in their work with clients. Dr. Atkins collaborated with faculty across campus who were practicing in diverse arts modalities including dance and movement, music, poetry, and dreamwork. These faculty included counselors, arts therapists, therapists who were artists and artists who used the creative process for personal and professional growth. They modeled the course on the concepts of an interdisciplinary approach and a creative, therapeutic community of faculty and students. In 1997, faculty members who had been collaborating in that course began to meet monthly, thereby establishing a formal interdisciplinary group known as the Appalachian Expressive Arts Collective. From their collaboration and with inspiration and support from the Hubbard Center for Faculty and Staff Support, they developed an Expressive Arts Therapy concentration within the master's degree program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling as well as a Graduate Certificate in Expressive Arts Therapy.

We Currently offer the following program options within Expressive Arts Therapy. Click the links below for more information.

Expressive Arts Therapy Concentration

Expressive Arts Therapy Certificate