Expressive Arts Therapy
Expressive Arts Therapy was a program that we started in Kenya, by Dr. Kimberly Benson with Village Volunteers to offer art as a healing process to children, adolescents and adults from all cultures, races and genders around the world.
Expressive Art Therapy programs are an approach to foster and encourage individuals to find their voice through the expressive arts process. As a form of communication, Expressive Arts Therapy has been used over centuries throughout time in bridging the gap between the left and right brain allowing thoughts and emotions to be identified, understood and communicated.
This specific kind of therapy enables an individual to remove the focus from the outcome of the artwork and place it on expressing what they are thinking and feeling enabling the individual to put their artwork into words. Expressive Arts Therapy also encourages the formulation of relationships and works at enhancing communication within relationships with friends, parents and partners.
Expressive Arts Therapy International (EATI) implemented their first curriculum in Kandaria Village, Kenya, Africa in partnership with Village Volunteers. The participants came from different backgrounds such as experiencing the loss of one or both parents, experiencing, witnessing or being victims of physical, mental, and emotional trauma and abuse. During this workshop, there was a distinct difference in the girls ability to communicate and articulate their thoughts and feelings. There was also an overall behavioral change in their ability to move away from being a part of a “group” voice, and having their own independent voice apart from the group consensus.
EATL’s curriculum for the workshop is available and will be used to continue the work with educators in the village as well as by other volunteers to work with adolescent girls to help them develop communication skills that will allow them to talk about their thoughts and feelings, to work through trauma. This process would empower these participants to take control of their lives, encourage hope and goals, as well as promote their independence and strength as young emerging women.