Creative Arts Therapy

Art making is a way of dwelling in whatever is before us that needs our attention. There is a universal tendency to turn away from difficulty. Image making allows for staying with something while making that staying bearable through the pleasure available in using the materials.

— Pat Allen, Ph.D., ATR-BC, Art Therapist, Writer, Educator

Creative Arts Therapy is a therapeutic modality that uses the techniques and theoretical perspectives of verbal psychotherapy and creative arts therapy in one holistic approach to growth and healing. Art therapists help clients of all ages increase emotional intelligence, discover and express thoughts and feelings, move through interpersonal challenges, work through grief, build motor and sensory capacities, and learn to play again.

When you incorporate non-verbal exploration into personal work, you can learn to pave over neural pathways that keep you stuck and tap into an a wiser part of you where core values and your highest potential reside. We are mind-body-spirit beings and verbal language alone cannot capture all of who we are or what we need.

If you are open to using art materials to pursue your therapeutic goals, art therapy will ask you to engage in simple projects and open-ended art-making using the themes you bring into the room. As you slow down and mindfully immerse yourself in the creative process, insights often emerge that prompt real change and leave you with a sense of new meaning and respect for your own life story. In a creative arts therapy session, you may draw, paint, collage, write, use clay, or create a scene with figures in a sand tray to explore a stuck place in your life or nurture seeds of growth inside you.

Creative Arts Therapy can be particularly helpful for those of us who get caught up in over-thinking or those who find direct discussion of feelings difficult or uncomfortable. No art skills or gift for creativity is necessary; only an interest in slowing down, looking inward, and being creative is needed. Your goal is not to learn fine art skills or create an attractive work of art, (though this may happen regardless of your experience with art); rather, making art in therapy is about engaging and saying something authentic to you with image, which may or may not be pretty. Your art is not used to analyze or diagnose; art therapy creations and your process are respected as a “second client” with its own, important voice.

Meet our Practitioner

Valerie Epstein-Johnson

Valerie Epstein-Johnson is a seasoned creative arts therapist and licensed counselor with a passion for helping people look inward with curiosity and creativity. Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Art Therapy, Valerie helps her clients find more meaning and less suffering in their lives. Through individual therapy and “values boarding” sessions for personal growth, Valerie helps children and adults clarify what is most important to them, what stands in the way of achieving it, and how best to heal, change, and grow.