Expressive Arts Therapy at Phoenix Houses Counseling Center: A Great Way to End the Week!

Monday, January 7th, 2013

Person Drawing

Every Friday afternoon, at Phoenix Houses of the Mid-Atlantic Counseling Center (PHCC), a program that offers substance abuse treatment and prevention services for adults and adolescents, participants gather for an hour-long session, where they are encouraged to creatively think about their journeys of recovery  using different models of expression. From drawing, to interpreting poetry, to using body movements to express emotions, to creating mandalas, clients are able to look at their lives through a different lens.

The expressive arts therapy group is a weekly program recently implemented within the partial hospitalization program curriculum. Expressive Arts Therapy is different from the medical or analytic art therapy model as art is not used to make a diagnosis or treat people, but it gives clients an alternative to verbal expression and allows them to discover themselves. Expressive Arts Therapy encourages healing through the use of media, literature, dance, music, poetry, movement, dream-work, and visual arts, and it can be a very powerful tool for people suffering from addiction.

“Addiction treatment work can sometimes become repetitive, which may, unfortunately, lead to an impasse in a client’s recovery”, said Lauren Zapf, Primary Counselor and Expressive Arts Therapist at Phoenix Houses of the Mid-Atlantic, “The expressive arts group, which was developed here within the last  few months, is designed to break up this monotony. It offers those clients who may have a difficult time expressing themselves through spoken word another outlet to communicate with others. It may also be a way for some of those buried aspects of the self to emerge. So far, we’ve been able to use several different means of expression to accomplish our therapeutic goals. For example, last week, clients were able to depict the emotional state of their loved ones through a family sculpting exercise, where other clients were able to represent family members and their relationship to the client through body language and physical distance. Sometimes, it can be such an insightful way to understand (and then change) how we view ourselves and others–without a word being spoken!”

Phoenix Houses of the Mid-Atlantic Counseling Center (PHCC) is located in Arlington,VA. The program currently offers Outpatient Counseling and Aftercare for adult men and women and adolescent boys and girls, as well as Partial Hospitalization for adults.

Find out more about programs and services at Phoenix Houses of the Mid-Atlantic, or call us today at: 1 888 671 9392.

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