Monday the 15th of March marks the beginning of National Creative Arts Therapies week! The creative arts therapies make a difference for tens of thousands of adults, teens, and children each year. Each of us here at CATS corner loves to integrate activities from all of the creative arts therapies into our work, whether it be at a residential treatment facility, within a family’s home, or in an experiential group. In order to honor this amazing field, we have decided to provide a background on each of the creative arts therapies as well as provide a fun, all ages activity for each so that you can explore them in the comfort of your own home.
The American Music Therapy Association defines music therapy as “an established health profession in which music is used within a therapeutic relationship to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals. ” Music therapists utilize a wide variety of interventions that involve creating, singing, moving, and listening to music. Music therapists use the professional credential MT-BC, which stands for Music Therapist-Board Certified. More information on music therapy can be found on the American Music Therapy Association’s website: musictherapy.org. A fun family activity involving music therapy principles is to create a family/individual playlist based on a certain emotion. Have each person in the family suggest a handful of songs that make them feel a certain way (happy, calm, energized) and put them together on a playlist that everyone has access to. Try listening to it in the car or during communal family activities and discuss why the songs make you feel a certain way.
The American Art Therapy Association defines art therapy as “an integrative mental health and human services profession that enriches the lives of individuals, families, and communities through active art-making, creative process, applied psychological theory, and human experience within a psychotherapeutic relationship.” Art therapists use a wide variety of creative interventions to aid in the integration of body, mind, and spirit. These interventions can include sculpting, drawing, painting, coloring, crafting, and more. Art therapists utilize the professional credentials ATR and ATR-BC, which stand for Registered Art Therapist and Registered Art Therapist-Board Certified respectively. More information on art therapy can be found on the American Art Therapy Association website: arttherapy.org. A fun art therapy activity would be transforming an old board book into a book of artwork centered around a certain emotion or experience. It can be helpful to first peel off the plastic layer on the pages with either your fingernails or with a straight razor (adults only!). Then, go crazy painting, drawing, and decorating to express yourself and your story through artwork.
The North American Drama Therapy Association defines drama therapy as “the intentional use of drama and/or theater processes to achieve therapeutic goals.” Drama therapy is an active and experiential process that utilizes interventions such as storytelling, role-playing, performing, improvisation, puppetry, and play to aid clients in achieving wellness. Drama therapists utilize the professional credential RDT, which stands for registered drama therapist. More information on drama therapy can be found on the North American Drama Therapy Association website: nadta.org. A fun drama therapy activity could be creating a series of mad-lib stories with family or friends and then reading them out loud to each other dramatically. This is a great way to break the ice and help others feel comfortable, especially if you are in a group for the first time. The best part about mad-libs is that everyone can easily participate, because all you have to do is give a word. Free mad-libs can be found on the mad-libs app or on the mad-libs website (www.madlibs.com).
The American Dance Therapy Association defines dance/movement therapy as “the psychotherapeutic use of movement to promote emotional, social, cognitive, and physical integration of the individual, for the purpose of improving health and well-being.” Dance/movement therapists view the body, mind, and spirit as inseparable and interconnected entities. Dance/movement therapists utilize body centered interventions such as dance, stretching, movement exercises, and games using parachutes and exercise bands. Dance/movement therapists utilize the professional credential BC-DMT, which stands for Board Certified Dance Movement Therapist. More information on dance/movement therapy can be found on the American Dance Therapy Association website: adta.org. A calming dance/movement activity is progressive muscle relaxation. There are great guided videos for this on Youtube, and the basis of the practice involves clenching muscles progressively from the top to the bottom of the body and then letting them go to promote fully body relaxation and engagement.
Biblio/poetry therapy involves the use of poetry and story, as well as language and symbol to promote learning, growth, community involvement, and therapeutic wellness. Biblio/poetry therapy encompasses bibliotherapy, narrative therapy, expressive and creative writing, and journal therapy. Biblio/poetry therapists utilize a variety of credentials, including CPT (Certified Poetry Therapist), PTR (Registered Poetry Therapist), and CAPF (Certified Applied Poetry Facilitator). More information on biblio/poetry therapy can be found on the International Federation for Biblio/Poetry Therapy website: ifbpt.org. A great bibliotherapy activity to help promote empowerment and creative thinking is “changing the ending.” Find a poem or short story, read it through, and then think about what you like, what you don’t like, and what you would change. Then, take those changes and run with them! Challenge yourself to do a little creative writing and rewrite the story to take into account your changes. It can be really fun to do this in a small group and then each share your new version of the same story.
We hope that you all enjoy creative arts therapy week and that you keep finding ways to integrate the creative arts into your daily lives. Thanks for stopping by!