The Expressive Therapies Continuum (ETC) is a pan-theoretical, developmentally integrative framework for using art in assessment and treatment. Conceptualized in the ‘70s by ahead-of-their-time art therapy pioneers—and my graduate professors!—Drs. Vija Lusebrink and Sandra Kagin (now Graves-Alcorn), the ETC is structured around the human brain’s information processing strategies at physical, emotional, and intellectual levels:
- physical information processing = kinesthetic and sensory components (the K/S level)
- emotional information processing = perceptual and affective components (the P/A level)
- intellectual information processing = cognitive and symbolic components (the C/Sy level)
Uniting all these components is the Creative level (Cr), which integrates the different modes of information processing. A creative individual is able to generate adaptive responses to situational demands by processing and organizing information from all these modes simultaneously. Assessment via the ETC seeks to determine areas of imbalance and dysregulation (over-, under-, or blocked functioning), and treatment via the ETC seeks to balance and regulate these areas by developing stronger connections between them and the other ETC components. The schematic below is a visual tool for mapping out these relationships and guides ETC-trained art therapists in assessment and treatment on a client-by-client basis.
The workshops in the 2016 Expressive Therapies Continuum Series were inspired by compelling articles from Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association and will introduce participants to topically relevant aspects of the ETC. Exposure to the ETC will:
- help non-art therapists understand the use of art in assessment and treatment as something more than a conversation starter
- bring non-ETC-trained art therapists into alignment with this comprehensive model that is now a required area of competence in graduate art therapy education
- support ETC-trained art therapists through the applied reinforcement of their knowledge base and skill set
While participation in these workshops won’t equate with the acquisition of ETC expertise for those who don’t already have it (mastery involves study and supervision), clinicians with all levels of ETC familiarity—especially those without coursework in art therapy—stand to gain from art based learning opportunities that are grounded in something much broader and deeper than the short reach of decontextualized, one-size-fits-all techniques.
These experiential workshops will be held from 1:00 to 3:00 pm. We will be using art media; please consider this when it comes to the clothes you wear. All materials will be provided (unless otherwise indicated). These are networking as well as educational opportunities, so bring your business cards! Register soon; all events will be limited to 16 participants. Each of the workshops listed here meets the requirements for 2.0 clock hours of continuing education. ABCs for Therapists is an approved provider of continuing education for:
- The Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage and Family Therapists, provider #522
- The Texas Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors, provider # 1380
- The Texas State Board of Social Workers Examiners, provider #5825
And now for the lineup: