Creative arts therapies include art therapy, dance/movement therapy, drama therapy, music therapy, poetry therapy, and psychodrama. These therapies use arts modalities to intervene to effect healing in much the same way that verbal therapies are utilized. Therapists use their modality to “meet the client where they are at,” understand the client’s specific issues, promote healthy expression of feelings and develop strong coping skills.
Creative arts therapies can be very effective on their own or as an adjunct to verbal therapies. For instance, when a person experiences a trauma, part of that experience is held in the body. While verbal therapies can be very helpful in working it through, implementation of a dance therapy intervention can help to unlock what is being held in the body and facilitate deeper expression of feeling.
Creative arts therapies can also be effective to work past defenses. While many of us have built up defenses in the way we utilize language, those defenses are not as sophisticated in our use of creative arts therapies; therefore, participation in a creative arts therapy can free clients up to access issues, interfering with their well being, that are repressed. Creative arts therapies, like verbal therapies, are used in therapeutic, community, rehabilitative, and educational settings, to promote healing and facilitate change.
Each creative arts therapy has a national association that has established professional training standards including an approval and monitoring process, a code of ethics and standards of clinical practice, and a credentialing process (NCCATS, 2012).