Expressive Arts Therapy

The LEFTOVERS Workbook/DVD set is an easy-to-use-manual for the clinician interested in using a multi-modality or expressive arts therapeutic approach to working with eating disordered clients. Expressive Arts Therapy, also known as Creative Arts Therapy, employs techniques that allow for self-discovery and social-emotional growth by using a wide range of artistic outlets—including art, music, drama and writing. When used in concert with verbal psychotherapy and group process, Expressive Arts Therapy techniques are an effective approach to working with clients struggling with eating disorders and body dissatisfaction. ART THERAPY Art Therapy incorporates various visual media including drawing, painting, collage, etc. to facilitate the participant’s identification and expression of feelings—with the belief that the act of producing art in and of itself helps to improve and enhance the physical, mental and emotional well-being of individuals. The LEFTOVERS Workbook/DVD set incorporates therapeutic art activities, including drawing, creation of collages and body tracings, to help explore disordered eating and body dissatisfaction. Art therapy exercises open the client to the development of a more self accepting and realistic body image, within a supportive group setting.

DRAMA THERAPY Drama Therapy is an experiential method that incorporates improvisational theater games, role play, movement, storytelling, scene work and psychodrama. Drama therapy exercises help participants express feelings, identify causes and change maladaptive behavior patterns. The LEFTOVERS Workbook/DVD set includes numerous therapeutic drama activities.  These clinically proven activities use role plays, scene work, and theater games to explore some of the following:
  • hopes and fears associated with  the internal struggle of achieving “body perfection”
  • real-life situations where body image can be affected by interaction with others
  • identifying triggers and developing problem-solving and coping skills in day-to-day interactions
Drama-based techniques, along with a healthy helping of humor and playfulness, are especially effective and beneficial within a group setting and can help clients develop an improved sense of self and well being.

WRITING THERAPY Writing Therapy may be incorporated in group and individual therapeutic settings and takes advantage of a wide range of genres. Writing Therapy activities employ poetry, journals, narrative dialogue and memoirs. The client is encouraged to write from the heart and the mind and not be concerned with grammar or accuracy of spelling. The  LEFTOVERS Workbook/DVD set offers participants the opportunity to use a number of writing techniques for self-examination to gain insight into their relationship with food and feelings about their bodies. Writing exercises include:
  • Writing thank you letters that focus on the positive parts of the client’s experience that are often neglected and undermined due to low self-esteem .
  • Creating comic strips that track behavior in social situations, and help create alternative ways to approach specific situations and challenges.
  • Creating a tangible journal of their journey of self discovery and change.

WHY ARE THERE SO MANY DIFFERENT MODALITIES OR EXPRESSIVE ARTS TECHNIQUES INCLUDED IN THE WORKBOOK? The LEFTOVERS Workbook/DVD set uses a variety of techniques to help strike an effective balance between the individuals and the overall group. While clients with eating disorders, body dissatisfaction, low self esteem and the need to be “perfect” may appear to be similar and can have similar etiologies or causes, each client also brings her own personality, set of strengths, and unique abilities to the process, and will react differently. When someone uses the “LEFTOVERS” sessions, they are able to honor individual client comfort zones and communication styles. The Session Plans intentionally target both the groups’ commonalities as well as participants’ individualism. Exercises are designed using a full toolbox of techniques, offering a greater likelihood that each person in the group will resonate with one or more of the methods and embrace a modality—even when it is outside their normal comfort zone—to gain personal confidence and self-discovery.