ABOUT EXPRESSIVE ARTS THERAPY
Expressive arts therapy is a cutting edge approach to addressing life’s challenges. The experience of expressive arts might be the creation of a painting, writing of a poem, or simply a movement of the hand. Within these creative expressions lie opportunities for spaces to open and for ideas and beliefs to expand. These are stories of possibilities. These are the sounds when meaning is echoed in suffering. We may delight in the surprise that emerges from ones’ work with the image, the word, or the song.
Rather than interpret their meaning we may engage with what is expressed by allowing it to speak, to tell the story of their creation, to dramatize through body movement, or simply to be with the image and listen to its’ message. We may breathe life into what is created and journey further as we follow its’ unfolding. Immersion into the healing power of the arts offers fresh perspectives, increased potential for change, insight, and deeper connection to self and others.
Carmen Richardson MSW, RSW, RCAT, REAT is founder and director of the Prairie Institute of Expressive Arts Therapy (PIEAT). Carmen is a Registered Clinical Social Worker, Registered Expressive Arts Therapist and Registered Canadian Art Therapist in private practice.
Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work
Advanced Diploma in Art Therapy
Advanced Post-Graduate Certificate Program in Expressive Arts, Therapy, Consulting and Education (CAGS) at European Graduate School
Advanced Certified Trauma Practitioner with the National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children (TLC)
Certified Agency Trainer (TLC)
Certificate in Integrative Body Psychotherapy (IBP)
My training in the expressive arts and body-focused psychotherapy has taught me to listen not only to words but also to the wisdom of the body through the use of breath, visual art, movement, and writing. I appreciate the balance of using verbal and non-verbal therapies, as both methods bring their own particular strengths. The approach taken in therapy is collaboratively decided between client and therapist and is tailored to the needs of the client.
Level 1 & 2 EMDR
Level 4 Focusing and Inner Relationship Focusing
Level 1 in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy
A variety of play and child-focused psychotherapies
I am passionate about the work that I do. I believe it is my responsibility as therapist to create a place of safety, to encourage the taking of risks and to provide a therapeutic container where both joy and suffering can be explored. I also believe in each person’s capacity to change and their natural tendency to move towards wholeness and healthy ways of being. Discovering and/or recovering inner resources and strengthening and repairing attachments is part of the therapeutic journey.
DEGREES AND CERTIFICATES
Therapeutic Services Offered:
- individual, family, and group therapy
- school age children, adolescents, and adults
• self-esteem/body image
• stress/coping skills
• parenting concerns
• parent-child/teen conflict
• relational concerns
• family of origin issues
• childhood trauma
There are many possible approaches to therapy, including using art or expressive arts in the process, using EMDR, body-focused approaches, cognitive-behavioral therapy, or mindfulness-based processes. Whatever therapy is used, it is part of an overall resource-oriented approach to treatment, meaning clients learn to build positive resources, as the therapist holds a resource-oriented attitude to the work.
The resource-oriented attitude held by the therapist is developed by bringing a sense of mindfulness to therapy, paying attention to where the strengths and resources show up. We are curious about the resource, noticing how it shifts and changes the client’s body experience, and staying with and expanding the favorable sensations and feelings. It is an important part of the work to end the therapy session in a well-resourced and grounded place.
“Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live
Maybe one of these days you can let the light in
Show me how big your brave is”
From the song, “Brave” by Sara Bareilles
Most of my career has been spent working collaboratively with children, adolescents, and adults negotiating trauma-related experiences. They have taught me about their incredible capacity for being brave. Being brave did not mean they were not afraid. It meant that despite feeling afraid and wanting to avoid, they found the courage to face what they needed to face and learned to discover and recover their own inner strengths. Being brave is a life resource and part of our work together is to discover and celebrate your brave! This is what I call “brave therapy.”
If you are thinking of saying yes to therapy, you might consider how your own brave resource has helped you make it this far? How has your brave served you? Supported you? Moved you forward?
EAR OF THE HEART LISTENING
“To listen is to continually give up all expectation and to give our attention, completely and freshly, to what is before us, not really knowing what we will hear or what that will mean. In the practice of our days, to listen is to lean in, softly, with a willingness to be changed by what we hear.” Mark Nepo
I believe that what is longed for and needed desperately in this world is the experience of being heard, being seen, and feeling felt, just as you are, right now. This is what the ear of the heart listening is. I believe it is the therapist’s job to offer the kind of presence that includes the ear of the heart listening - that is to truly listen, with fresh ears, to what is said and what is not said. Making connections, rebuilding attachments, and establishing a safe therapeutic relationship is central to our work.
EAR OF THE HEART
9 - 20
Living Wide Open
I will not die an unlived life. I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire. I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my living to open me, to make me less afraid, more accessible; to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise. I choose to risk my significance, to live so that which came to me as seed goes to the next as blossom, and that which came to me as blossom, goes on as fruit.
For over 20 years, Carmen has consulted with and/or provided training for many mental health programs and agencies who are interested in integrating the arts into existing therapeutic programs.
• collaboratively design arts-based programs
• support the integration of the arts into existing therapeutic programs
Carmen offers a creative and collaborative approach to clinical supervision in the areas of art therapy, expressive arts therapy, and social work practice.
• includes both individual and group supervision
For further information, call Carmen at (403)245-5553 ext 15
“I beg you, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”
Rainer Maria Rilke
Letters to a Young Poet
3 - 14
In the silence between there is music; In the spaces between there is story.
We are listening each other into being.
• Therapeutic encounters with expressive arts therapy increases an individual’s
connection to their aliveness.
• A collaboration occurs between the client, the art, and the therapist.
• Understanding is experienced not only in the mind, but is discovered in the body.
• Moving from one art modality to another deepens the individual’s learning and
opens one to increased possibilities for change.
• Change flourishes through guided discovery and engagement with the arts.
• Our ways of knowing expand through immersion with our senses.
• Profound connections are made with the joining of verbal and non-verbal
• Whatever you can imagine can be.
1528 12th Ave SW
Calgary, AB, T3C 0P9
(403) 245 - 5553 - ext: 15