THE EXPRESSIVE THERAPIES MODALITIES
The Expressive Therapies (ET) modalities are a blend of experiential personal growth (developmental) and counselling (therapeutic) methods developed in Australia by Mark Pearson and Helen Wilson and others since 1987, which support the emotional healing of adults, adolescents and children.
Formerly called Emotional Release Counselling, ET includes a range of approaches that explore the hidden causes behind many of the conflicts in life. Through the inner-life skills ET helps clients access a wider range of intrapersonal skills and resources.
These approaches cooperate with the natural movement within the psyche towards wholeness - the process Jung called 'individuation'. ET uses a number of modalities that help bring awareness to, and release of, the emotional causes of present problems. Once clients become less emotionally charged, they can be supported to recognise creative strategies for developing healthy life skills for more effective interaction.
The modalities include: Sandplay Therapy, Symbol Work, Dreamwork, Use of Expressive Art, Mandala Artwork, Emotional Integration Processes, Emotional Literacy Activities, Bioenergetics, Movement and Dance, Body Focus, Visualisation, Expressive Writing: process, reflective and completion.
ET is an invitational, self-discovery approach, encouraging insights and change from within the client.
The methods and attitudes are client-centred recognition and value is given to the significance of the client's personal interpretations and meanings. The processes have been developed from an expanded understanding of the psyche, with an evolving research base, founded on the tradition of creative arts therapies and particularly Jungian, Gestalt, Transpersonal and Constructivist Psychology.
Through these methods we can reconnect to our positive emotions and can help others do the same. The processes have been developed from an expanded understanding of the human psyche that is in tune with modern day research as well as traditional counselling and spiritual systems.
The frameworks, research and methods have been developed from the work of C. G. Jung (The Journey of Individuation), Dora Kalff (Sandplay), Christina and Stanislav Grof (Transpersonal Psychology), Eva Pierrakos (Inner child and Relationship Frameworks), Fritz Perls (Dreamwork and Gestalt approach to symbol work), Wilhelm Reich (Emotional Release and Bioenergy), Leslie Greenberg (Emotion-focused Therapy) and many others.
Mark's research on the effectiveness of ET in school settings, found that, in the opinion of guidance officers and school counsellors, who have completed the Certificate training course, ET is highly effective. Research published in the Australian Journal of Guidance and Counselling, 2003, Vol 13. No. 2, pp. 205 -224. Please contact us if you would like a copy of Mark's research.
Art and music in therapy, the use of writing, narratives and emotionally focussed methods, and expressive therapies generally have extensive documentation and research.
‘Using Expressive Counselling Tools to Enhance Emotional Literacy, Emotional Wellbeing and Resilience: Improving Therapeutic Outcomes with Expressive Therapies’ (2008) Counselling, Psychotherpy and Health, 4(1), 1-19. Can be downloaded from the on-line journal - go to: hthttp://www.cphjournal.com/journals/
EMOTIONAL LITERACY ACTIVITIES
This new program has been developed in Australia by Mark Pearson on three different levels:
Level One - Junior - to help students from 7 years to 9 years;
Level Two - Middle School - for 10 to 14 years,
Level Three - Secondary - for students 15 to 18 years.
It helps students identify their feelings and communicate about them. It helps them work through any issues that may be impacting on learning, behaviour, social development and wellbeing.
This is a proactive groupwork program that is activity based, and uses the theory of multiple intelligences to ensure that all students can participate. It develops new self-awareness and communication skills.
While the program builds written and verbal skills, it is also designed to support self-esteem and peer bonding. It is designed to help students open up and share their concerns, learn how to relax and enhance emotional resilience.
EMOTIONAL INTEGRATION PROCESSES
These processes can involve both emotional release and emotional integration. They can help deal with the underlying feelings that may be driving behaviour and support a sense of balance and integration.
Through these processes we can release current feelings as well as working back through old feelings and behaviour patterns that add fuel to acting-out and withdrawal. These imprints from the past contribute strongly to sabotage in daily life. Emotional activation methods can be used to release both conscious and unconscious emotions. These processes provide a safe, structured way of encountering troublesome issues and supports the deep healing of anger, grief, loss, rage and resentment.
After processing our body/mind/feelings can return to a relaxed positive state. The integration processes focus on re-connection between left and right hemisphere modes and between mind and body, mind and heart, heart and body.
In Greenberg's Emotion-Focussed Therapy he argues for the central role of emotion in psychotherapeutic change. He describes how emotion "schemes" need to be activated in therapy to access intrapsychic information and make maladaptive components available for change. Greenberg cites extensive empirical support for the effectiveness of using a "complex integration of emotionally focussed intervention strategies".
Greenberg, L. (2002). Emotion-Focussed Therapy.
Washington: American Psychological Association.