Expressive Arts Florida Institute

Collaborative Art-Making

In this series focusing on our Guiding Principles, this week we share a video of collaborative   art-making.

We believe in collaborative and community art making as a path to building relationships, community wellness, and social change and planetary healing.

What happens when we make art together? This is such a powerful question! Whether you are making art with your child, your partner, your family, your work team, or your community, you are joining together in service of bringing something new into form, together.

When we communicate with others through the arts, we can see and feel the experience and truth of the other, leading to empathy, tolerance, and authenticity.The arts can serve as a communication bridge across differences of disciplines, personalities and cultures. The arts can serve community building by helping people to discover shared values and purpose and feelings of belonging beneath individual differences of ideas and belief. The arts offer process and language that bridge differences of personality, history and culture. Creative Wisdom Online Training, Lesson Seven


The 3 of us – Tamara, Victoria, Kathleen – paint collaboratively as part of our ongoing business development at Expressive Arts Florida Institute. We paint to make space for new visioning possibilities, to improve our listening and communication, and to keep ourselves fully grounded in the work we believe in so deeply.
We hope you enjoy this video of us painting together, and the rich discussion following!

A Lifetime Healing and Transformational Practice

We believe that the creative process and art-making itself is healing and transformational. This is one of our Guiding Principles at Expressive Arts Florida Institute.

  • If we are engaging in creative activities – any creative engagement – we are healthier.
  • Just the creative or artistic act itself is healthy and powerful. If we add the component of loving witness (by ourselves or another) the positive effects are enhanced.
  • Living a creative life that includes the arts helps us to remember who we are.

As we continue to explore our Guiding Principles with you, we turn this time to Victoria, who shares what happened for her when she began her expressive arts journey. Her writing is excerpted from the Welcome Lesson of Creative Wisdom: Introductory Online Training in Expressive Arts.

I am remembering what it was like when I was introduced to Expressive Arts. I really had no idea about the journey it would take me on. I do recall being very excited and emotional. I felt like I was welcoming back an old friend – possibly a friend that I had left behind or dismissed a long time ago. As I sat with this, allowing my emotions to come full circle, it became clearer and clearer that that friend was me. I remembered her. The innocent young girl with a big voice, listening to music, singing and dancing away without a care in the world. The girl who wrote poetry and painted castles on her bedroom wall. A girl getting ready to follow her dreams and become all that she could be.

It’s funny. It wasn’t until I began my expressive arts training that I knew just how wise that girl was. As I contemplate my journey and all the insights and awarenesses that the creative process has brought me, I am absolutely sure that we all hold that inner wisdom within. The expressive arts process has led me to excavate many layers of my life. I have explored, and continue to explore, many unknowns. Countless transformations have occurred.  I met that young girl face to face right where she was. Right where we were. I am so grateful that all I had to do was show up and trust that what came to me through my images, writings and more, was exactly what I needed.

And, that is all you have to do to begin. Just show up.

The road doesn’t end.  It is a lifetime practice. The process is ongoing. I am so excited for each and every one of you!

Here is one of my images and accompanying writings that are part of this early journey. The image is entitled Guide Bird.

I am watching and listening….

I see and hear myself as….

I transition…

I walk through the archway towards the light leaving all that is dark behind me.

I bring with me only my inner wisdom, my outward compassion and the glow in my heart.

I am your guide bird.


Expressive Arts: A Holistic Practice

Today we invite you to explore this Guiding Principle with us:

We believe in the holistic nature of Expressive Arts, as it engages the whole person – body/mind/spirit.

Expressive Arts practice effects change in all aspects of human experience. Whether we enter through the portal of body, mind, emotion, or spirit, the arts provide a pathway in to our inner life, and a framework to hold space for ourselves to grow and change.

Watch the video, and absorb the images and words.

We are deeply grateful to our students for allowing us to share photos of their holistic practice.


Expressive Arts Florida Institute is amazing – really top notch faculty and well thought out comprehensive programming. The core faculty have many years of training themselves, and this comes through in their meticulous attention to all aspects of training others including theory and application. I have taught in many places around the world and I always look forward to returning to the Expressive Arts Florida Institute.   

Mitchell Kossak PhD, LMHC, REAT 

Professor, Counseling and Expressive Therapies, Lesley University                                                                        Author:  Attunement in Expressive Arts Therapy

How does your own practice reflect the holistic nature of this work? What are your questions or ideas about this? We love hearing from you. Just comment below, or share in our private Facebook group.

Personal Practice – More Inspiration from Tamara

We hope you are enjoying this series focusing on our Guiding Principles.
We are currently exploring this one, as we consider it foundational.
We believe that it is essential for the practitioner of Expressive Arts to be engaged in their own personal expressive arts practice.
A few days ago we shared Kathleen’s new 30-day practice and today we are offering you some more inspiration, this time from Tamara.
We encourage you to discover and grow a practice that works for you!

Moving my body and getting in touch with what is moving within me forms the basis of my personal practice. For me, it is about sensing and taking time to closely observe the next impulse. I pause, listen, and respond with my body, then with images, then with movement, then words, images, sound, then words. It is important for me to resist judgment and allow myself to be free to let it all out and go back and forth following the path of my creative thread. When I use this practice, the images come out through my movement and they reveal more about themselves as I proceed. I do not know where they are going, but I gain more and more insight into where I am coming from, which is grounding and nourishing and brings me to a place of peace.  – Tamara
Let us know how it’s going! Just comment below, or join our private FB group.

As you may know by now, we are preparing some new online course materials for you, to expand and deepen your understanding and experience with Expressive Arts.

We are actively working on these new offerings, and we will be ready to announce the details very soon.

We are building on our foundational online training: Creative Wisdom.

Creative Wisdom 8 week online Training in Intermodal Expressive Arts is the best, richest, most thorough, safe, clear, broad, and deep foundational introduction anyone could hope for, whether for personal or professional use, if you wish to begin or continue your exploration of Expressive Arts!   – Maureen O’Reilly, APRN

Are you interested in getting started on your Expressive Arts Training?
  • This is the first step, and it integrates with our Certificate Training Program.
  • Start on your pathway to becoming a REACE or REAT with IEATA.(International Expressive Arts Therapy Association)

Are you a mental health counselor or psychotherapist?

  • Earn 16 CEU’s, and infuse your work with creativity that benefits both your clients and you.

In the meantime, we hope you are enjoying learning more about our guiding principles and how they can impact your practice and your life!

With gratitude,

Kathleen, Tamara, Victoria



Today, we are focusing on another of our Guiding Principles.
We believe that it is essential for the practitioner of Expressive Arts to be engaged in their own personal Expressive Arts practice.
We see this as a critical component of self-care, a necessary means to fully understand and benefit from the power of the expressive arts, and to know the territory in which you may be guiding others.
We also recognize that it is not always easy.
If you struggle with how to find the time, what to focus on, or how to structure your practice, read on, and watch the video. We are here to support you.
What is a personal expressive arts practice?
  • A consistent practice that supports your well-being and self-care..
  • Regular enagagement with the arts, as a means of of both personal exploration and self-reflection.
  • More than one arts modality is recommended.

What are some examples?

  • 5 minutes of spontaneous movement, followed by a quick visual image.
  • quiet your mind, turn inward, focus on breath. Make a quick visual image.
  • Find/discover/create a rhythm on a drum that seems to express how you are currently feeling. Repeat it. Do some spontaneous writing.
  • Create a spontaneous visual image. Respond to it with your voice. Then write.
Choose something that will work for you. Get creative – the options are limitless. And be realistic about choosing something that you will follow through with in the context of your current life. Make it a priority. Schedule it in and write it in your planner. It can be daily, twice a week, or once a week. Commit, and also allow your practice to change and evolve. It doesn’t always have to be the same. Keep your materials and set-up simple. Make it portable, so that you can do it wherever you are.


Here is some advice from Creative Wisdom: Introductory Online Training in Expressive Arts.

Ask yourself: 

  • What has worked well for you so far?
  • What has been more challenging?
  • What might you like to try more of?
  • Which modalities come most naturally for you?
  • Which ones do you have resistance to or discomfort with?
  • How might you benefit from including a little more of your least favorite modalities?

We encourage you to explore a variety of expressive arts processes and design a practice that works for you, refining and changing it over time to meet your needs. We recommend that your practice  include more than one arts modality – visual art (any media), movement, writing, music, rhythm, voice.

Let us know how it’s going! Just comment below.

Here, Kathleen shares the new 30-day personal practice she is just beginning.

Here are some resources to support you: