what is expressive arts?


The Expressive Arts Approach

The expressive arts as a field is founded on the principle of poiesis, or Greek for “knowing by making.” It is one of Aristotle’s three ways of learning: theoria, praxis, and the last one is poiesis. Practice in the field is characterized by a heightened sensitivity of the senses to existing phenomena or experience, and the response to the invitation to “make” or create coming from an inherent sense of agency that exists even in circumstances that may appear to have minimal resources. With a specific attunement and sense of presence to both process and the actual emergent “third” or art piece the practice is an approach that is applicable in various contexts such as therapy, education, coaching, consulting, peacebuilding and social transformation.

The expressive arts (EXA) approach emphasises the value and beauty of the human soul, and its ability to contribute to transforming and shaping the world, and to rise above conflict through its inherent creative abilities and inner wisdom. EXA engages all artistic modalities including visual art, music, dance, movement, drama, and poetry. While fields such as music therapy, art therapy, or dance therapy exist individually, EXA as its own field encompasses all art modalities.