Expressive Arts Ireland works in a four main areas:
Therapy, Education, Social Change, Performance and Community Arts.
Expressive Arts Therapy is founded on the premise that everyone is capable of making meaningful art and that the process and/or product is always helpful to the client.
Therefore, we embody a low skill, high sensitivity approach. We are not technique oriented, but rather gear all our groups and sessions so that any person, regardless of their artistic talent or previous experience, can enter into the process.
We guide the client into their senses and their sensitivity to create work. We look together observantly at what has been created without critique or judgment. There can often be educational or instructional components to the art making that are naturally imbedded within the session.
We also hold that the client is the expert of their art and therefore will let meaning emerge through a reflective process that assists the client in discovering their own resources. We call this Aesthetic Analysis, which gives careful attention to what is actually there on the page, in the dance or song and allows for the whole experience to touch the client. We do not codify images, colors, movements to any external meaning other than the client’s own experience.
We work in the art modalities such as: music, drama and theatre, writing, visual arts, storytelling, nature, dance/movement and will often incorporate more than one modality into a session. Intermodal refers to our ability to shift into different art making modalities to bring more of the senses into play, to receive more information about an image, and/or to facilitate where the images are leading the client. The therapist is knowledgeable in the language of all these art forms and how they interrelate.
We are grounded in theories from philosophy, sociology, education, ecopsychology, anthropology as well as psychology that acknowledge arts as the medicine. In expressive arts we practice that the making and finding what arrives with reflection is a healing act.
Creating art with sensitive awareness is a similar process as that of creating our lives.
Both life and art require improvisational skills, resilience, awareness of beauty and the necessary hands on experience of shaping from materials available.
We work in the fields of: Education, Health and Social change in Ireland, we are part of EXA internationally.
Education - Expressive Arts Ireland runs education programs nationally and internationally. In Ireland we have run classes for the second year students of the MA in Art Therapy at Crawford College Cork, as well as first and second years students of Early Childhood Care and Education at Limerick Institute of Technology, Thurles. Since 2015 we have provided an annual module in Ireland for students of the M.A. in Creative Arts Therapy at Hofstra University, New York. Expressive Arts Ireland are an official module provider for the European Graduate School Switzerland. We offer weekend workshops and introduction courses in Kilkenny and Dublin.
Health - Expressive Arts Ireland facilitated workshops for Hearing Voices, Acquired Brain Injury Ireland(ABII), Camphill Community and has been a part of a team of therapists in Cois Nore, cancer support centre ,Kilkenny giving group and individual therapy sessions. The arts can improve the health of people who experience mental or physical health problems. Engaging in the arts can promote well-being and autonomy. The arts can improve healthcare settings by creating a personalised environment reducing stress and anxiety.
Social Change - Expressive Arts Ireland has been working with communities both nationally and internationally; in Ireland working with Transition Town Movement to raise environmental awareness in Kilkenny, working on community garden projects in Dublin such as Granby Park project, and with Trade School; an alternative learning community that runs on barter. Outside of Ireland Vered and Boaz volunteered in 2017 in disadvantaged areas of Lima, Peru working with adults and children using storytelling, in Guatemala working with children from indigenous communities with the Dance for Universal Peace Movement, and in Nepal making puppets with street kids in Kathmandu, and teaching for a week at a Buddhist Nunnery girls' School.
Storytelling - Expressive Arts Ireland is involved in drama and storytelling programmes, which offer people the opportunity to develop their own creativity and raise self-esteem. The use of drama, theatre, and creative-writing processes can achieve healthy psychological growth and bring some light and change to people’s lives. We facilitate workshops wherein people create their own stories, we also perform in schools, festivals and libraries around the country for school children and communities.