expressive arts therapy

expressive arts therapy



Pablo Picasso once said,
“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

True. Expressing ourselves is how we write our Signature on Life. There are countless ways to do so. Art, or art making, is one method that brings intentionality to our expressions.

“But I’m Not Artistic!”

Art isn’t something that is the sole domain of people who “call themselves” artists. We are all artistic… In that we all find ways to express our uniqueness, through our relationships, our work, our play, our presence on the planet. If our expressions become thwarted by challenges, we need to find ways to reclaim our “voices.” Using art as a means to deal with daily annoyance, stress, change, growth, or even catastrophic trauma, has been shown by research and practice to assist people to find greater peace and meaning in their lives.

Writing is my North Star Art form!

Poems, Articles, Books or just scribbles on napkins at Starbucks!

What’s yours?

Executive Leadership? Homemaking? Financial Planning? Parenting? Drawing? Painting? Researching? Serving? Retail? Manufacturing? Healing? Teaching? Playing? Sports? Soldiering? Recovery? Academia? Personal Growth? Spiritual Evolution? Nature? Animals? Your Faith? Family? Retirement? Travel? Alternative Medicine? 


ImproVizion’s Expressive Arts Coaching and Therapeutic work is based on the education, experience, and research of Dr. Vali Hawkins Mitchell, who is also a Registered Expressive Arts Therapist. And although her art coaching practice eliminates the diagnostic and treatment aspects of a traditional therapeutic environment, the methodologies and modes are in keeping with the theories and practices of principles established within the expressive arts therapeutic milieu, and are, indeed, a strong component of self-managed wellness care. As a counseling client, you will receive the best of traditional talk-therapy and art therapy methods.

Expressive arts therapy is an interdisciplinary, integrative, arts-based approach to counseling and psychotherapy.  Also referred to as expressive therapies, intermodal expressive therapy, and creative arts therapy, it involves the use of artistic experience in the service of health, healing, and human growth and development. In expressive arts therapy a combination of imagery, symbols, storytelling, ritual, music, dance, drama, poetry, movement, dreamwork, or visual arts are used together to give shape and form to human experience, to hold and express emotional and reflective experience, and to expand and deepen personal understanding and meaning.

(Sally Atkins, Sourcebook in Expressive Arts Therapy, 2007, Parkway)

What Are Some of the Methods Used
In Evidence Based Expressive Arts?

  • Drawing
  • Mandalas
  • Journal Making
  • Programmed
  • Poetry
  • Drama
  • Visual Art
  • Music
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
  • Fabric Arts
  • Play
  • Sculpture
  • Crafts
  • Breathwork
  • MARI assessments
  • Painting
  • Clay Work
  • Natural Products
  • Movement
  • Collage


Philosophy of Practice

Change is what life is all about. In counseling, change is usually the outcome of a therapeutic relationship. The catch is, that change is not the responsibility of the counselor. You must want personal growth and development in order for the work to have effect. The counselor does not do YOUR homework for you – the counselor is not the Library – the counselor is the Librarian who can help direct you toward your own search for meaning.

The focus of my work is to help people address life issues through conversation, research, brainstorming, idea sharing, research, and use of the creative Arts.

By a blending of internal resources, exploration of past-present-future, dreams, art, creativity, education, encouragement, support, laughter, tears, patience and strong nudges, clear guidance, and shared accountability, I expect clients work with me to find the best of their own lives.

The goal of counseling is to move forward toward personal goals of authenticity and personal growth, accountability and creative joy. Counseling, at its best, should lead clients to their own journey so they can arrive at the destination of their own custom-designed dreams.

Counseling should help identify repeating patterns of behavior and ineffective beliefs that may have taken your life journey in a direction that does not serve you.  Helping clients identify such misinterpretations can lead to new beliefs, patterns of behavior, choices, and personal empowerment. You design the journey and counseling show help you find the best route.

See About Dr. Vali page