My Personal Journey With Person Centered Expressive Arts and How It Influences My Wild Heart Expressive Arts Teacher Training Program

by | Apr 16, 2024 | Articles | 0 comments


As we are coming down to the wire for this next round of our Wild Heart Expressive Arts Teacher Training Program I’ve been thinking a lot about my own expressive arts journey

My early days in terms of my own personal healing and also in my professional practice centered around body based approaches to creating conditions for wholeness and what is often referred to as talk therapy… or psychotherapy. I spent many fruitful and satisfying hours in my various cozy offices with individuals, couples and groups guiding people into trusting their own inner healer and inner wise person through somatic awareness, breathwork, intuition and compassionate verbal exploration of a persons inner psychic landscape.


There was also a strong focus on creating an energetic container of trust and safety and utilizing the relationship between myself and my clients as part of the healing crucible.


Those years in those therapy rooms were deeply gratifying and fulfilling. And I would often marvel at the fact and feel incredibly grateful that this was my work in the world. I felt well incredibly well used and competent and like I was doing the work that spirit meant for me to be doing.


At a certain point I began longing for something more without being clear exactly what that more was. And I discovered that sense of more through a weekend workshop held in the redwoods of Northern California and facilitated by a wondrous alchemical priestess of the creative process named Natalie Rogers.


Natalie had created a process called Person Centered Expressive Arts Therapy. She wrote a seminal book about the expressive arts called The Creative Connection: Expressive Arts As Healing and I think of her as the mother of the expressive arts movement.


She was the daughter of a very famous psychotherapist named Carl Rogers who created a therapeutic modality call Person Centered or Client Centered Therapy. This approach to therapy which valued empathy, caring, openness, honesty and trust in the clients inherent capacity to heal was deeply in alignment with what I had already been practicing based on what I head learned through the Radical Psychiatry philosophy.


But Carl Rogers also added the idea of the importance of being fully present to your clients and encouraging them to be fully present to themselves as a fundamental ingredient for true growth and change. He taught how simply being with a person from a place of deep compassion and acceptance without trying to fix or change them is essential to the healing process. He is considered one of the founders of humanistic psychology and developed the concept of unconditional positive regard as a core tenet of his approach to unleashing peoples full potential and capacity for self actualization.


His theory of personality was not an outgrowth of the more popular medical model which is based on seeing human psychological suffering as a disease and that people are broken and need to be fixed. His conception of human psychology was much more positive and hopeful. And he firmly believed that inside of everyone was an untapped potential to grow and heal that could be absolutely trusted and just needed to be encouraged by the therapists belief and support of that intrinsic potential.


These ideas were music to my ears and aligned perfectly with how I saw myself, my clients and how I wanted to work with people.


His daughter, Natalie Rogers, took these concepts and combined them with artmaking and the creative process. But her focus was not on creativity in any kind of traditional sense where the intention was to create a beautifully rendered piece of art that could be sold or displayed in a persons home. She was much more interested in the process of creativity itself and on how the act of fully liberated self expression is in itself powerfully healing and contributes to a persons sense of self worth, empowerment, self esteem and overall well being.


I had a number of personal unhealed wounds around my own capacity for creative expression and I knew that taking a traditional art class where I was taught how to make art in a particular way would only exacerbate those wounds.


What I needed was the freedom to explore and trust in my own creative instincts and impulses. Not to be told what to do or how to make art that was supposed to adhere to certain standards of aesthetics or skill.


Studying with Natalie as my guide and teacher gave me an unshakeable confidence and faith in my own unique and quirky way of expressing myself creatively. She did that through her ability to shower me with the magical elixir of her unconditional positive regard for me and my creations and how I expressed myself. And for this, I will be eternally grateful.


I found this expressive arts approach to psychological and emotional healing to not only be incredibly powerful for me on a personal level but also in my work with other women. For centuries, womens voices have been silenced and their creative expression devalued by the dominant patriarchal culture that is still alive and well today.

So having a place and a process through which women could create freely without fear of judgment, humiliation or expectations around being perfect and beautiful was a profoundly liberating and emancipating experience for so many of the women who joined me for my sacred creative circles.


It allowed me to feel a deep sense of connection to artmaking as not only a soul emancipation practice, but also as a way to contribute to my own and other womens sense of trust in themselves as powerful creative beings and as positive agents of change and liberation.

And it is these core values and this approach to healing through art that runs through everything that I do and that I am and that I bring to anyone I work with. And is also the basic foundation of what you learn and experience in our Wild Heart Expressive Arts Teacher Training Program. 

If this way of being and creating and healing is resonating with your soul please don’t hesitate to sign up for a free call with Tim and I where we can get to know you and answer any questions you might have about the training. Just scroll down to the bottom of the teacher training page where you can register for a teacher training interview with us.




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