• Produce and distribute films educating students, professionals, and the general public about the healing power of the arts; and make available related audiovisual materials.
  • Demonstrate principles of creative practice to those who can help others through the arts, enabling providers to do so with sensitivity and respect.
  • Foster the growth of therapeutic arts programs in order to assist those in pain, enhance personal growth, inspire creativity, and benefit society.
  • Extend the healing power of the arts to human beings of all ages, from the worried well to those suffering and in pain, whether chronic or acute.

Why Expressive Arts Therapies?

Since the beginning of time, humans have turned to the arts for solace, inspiration, and renewal. With the birth and development of psychology and psychiatry in the 20th century, people rediscovered the healing power of the arts. In the United States, the fields of art, dance, drama, and music therapy came into being in the 1940s, and became recognized professions over the next few decades. While they have been formal disciplines for a relatively short time, they have rapidly developed in clinical sophistication.

Though any participation in the arts is inherently therapeutic —whether by viewing or active engagement — the expressive arts therapies involve the intentional and disciplined use of the arts for purposes of growth and healing. Arts therapists are specialists in helping people to cope with life’s challenges and traumas as well as their ongoing well-being through the use of the healing power of the arts. Practitioners are trained at the masters or doctoral level in psychology, psychopathology, assessment, research, and treatment.

Although the arts therapies were initially developed in psychiatry, and are still found in psychiatric hospitals and outpatient treatment programs, they are also practiced in education, medicine, rehabilitation, corrections, and a variety of other settings in the community with people of all ages and abilities.