Expressive Arts Therapy

Expressive arts therapy (EXA) is a therapeutic approach that puts creativity at the center of human experience. EXA conceives of human existence as essentially creative, as capable of bringing something new into being. Suffering occurs when this creative impulse is stifled. When we are stuck facing a difficulty and are unable to go beyond what actually faces us, we lose our sense of vitality. In EXA, we try to help clients find the possibilities that are present in their own experience. We do this by recourse to the world of the imagination through play, and art. Verbalizing the experiences can foster insight into feelings, perceptions and behavior.

An empathic therapeutic relationship is the ground which provides a base for our clients to go forward, but it is not itself the goal. They also need the encouragement to create a new world and sense of self. We believe that everyone has the resources to face the problems that arise for them. No special artistic skills are needed – we emphasize a “low-skill high-sensitivity” attitude. This is a playful approach which draws upon all the arts as needed in a gentle and respectful way. By helping clients access their resources and imagine new outcomes, expressive arts therapy makes it possible for them to find surprising possibilities that can then lead to changes in their own lives.

ISIS Canada – Creative Integrative Arts Therapy Training Program

ISIS Canada offers a training program for Expressive Arts Therapists. Expressive Arts Therapy (EXA) is a way of using the arts to help people with a variety of challenges; whether they be psychological, emotional, behavioural, or associated with life traumas, relationships or transitions. 

See the Institute’s website -

CPA - The Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association

CCPA membership includes experts and specialists in numerous mental health areas ranging from ADHD and learning disabilities; marriage counselling; eating disorders; stress, depression, and anger; grief and infertility; weight management and body image; addiction; Aboriginal issues; family counselling; career development and management, and much more.

Credentialing: In 1986, CCPA established a credentialing service for its members:  Canadian Certified Counsellors (CCC).  Counsellor certification is a national service that identifies to the public those counsellors whom CCPA recognizes as qualified to provide counselling services in Canada. Obtaining the status of Canadian Certified Counsellor (CCC) includes recognition of standards of professional preparation, continuing education, and a formal code of ethics. As a non-statutory, self-regulating body, CCPA provides advice and discipline for certified members on matters of professional conduct.

See the Association website: