Expressive Arts Therapy

Medical Applications of Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy and art therapy can be used in conjunction with Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture to implement necessary change and healing. This powerful combination provides focus on the whole person by addressing physical, emotional, and spiritual components of healing.

Art Therapy Sample 1 When an individual arrives for treatment of a troublesome physical ailment, it is always important to consider the emotional/spiritual components of the presenting symptom to best implement a course of action to effect a full recovery. Each individual's body speaks in a language of its own. It is always beneficial to look for the reciprocal actions of the mind on the body, of the body on the mind, for both of them are equal parts of the whole with which we are concerned.

The combination of art therapy, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and acupuncture provides a unique opportunity to target symptoms from multiple angles while better understanding how the body communicates internal imbalance and tension that has gone unspoken. Symptoms and physical manifestations can give clarity and indications of emotional struggles, unexpressed feelings, or traumas. Art therapy can assist an individual in safely expressing difficult feelings that may be held in the body such as shame, guilt, grief, loneliness, sadness, pain, frustration, anger, and fear. Those same feelings, when repressed in the body, often result in physical ailments and symptoms.

It is important to recognize that a referral for therapeutic assistance is not a sign of weakness or incompetence. Therapy is a gift that provides tools useful for reflection, recognition, and self-healing for the rest of an individual's life.

Disease manifestations are multifaceted, therefore the components are best understood through a multifaceted treatment protocol. Therapy can address the reactions to having a physical illness as well as the deeper emotional components that may contribute to the origin of the illness.

The powerful combination of therapy, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and acupuncture is incredibly empowering and effective.

Art Therapy and Grief

Art Therapy and Expressive Arts Therapy offer the grieving individual a safe, supportive space where intense emotions of loss are honored and can be expressed openly. Therapy also offers the unique wisdom that can be found only in highly skilled listening, reflection, and understanding. Therapy allows individuals to work through grief related to challenging events such as, but not limited to, death, suicide, life altering medical diagnoses, loss of functioning, loss of a relationship, infertility, miscarriage, abortion, abuse, rape, and loss of employment. In some cases, death may reopen old wounds. In some families of origin, individuals grieve for what was desired and never had, or never will be.

Art Terapy Sample 2

We as practitioners recognize that complicated, unexpressed grief frequently contributes to physical symptoms. Indeed, the therapeutic outlet of safe grief expression often alleviates physical symptoms. All feelings related to a loss is honored and accepted. In addition, each individual's process is recognized as unique. If there is a need to say goodbye or achieve additional closure, various expressive arts techniques may be used to assist in this process such as art exercises, journaling, letter writing, anger work, psychodynamic role play, and empty chair.

Art Therapy and Trauma

Trauma is an event, or series of events, combined with an individual’s vulnerability that creates an overwhelming experience for both the body and the mind. Psychological trauma may include, but is not limited to, events such as abuse, incest, rape, neglect, death of a loved one, terminal illness of self or a loved one, life altering injury, suicide, addiction, miscarriage, abortion, infertility, natural disasters, and life altering loss. As practitioners, we have experienced that unresolved trauma frequently plays a role in patients’ overall wellbeing and development of symptoms. If untreated or ignored, these same symptoms can develop into diagnosable illnesses.

Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture offer the traumatized individual powerful, yet gentle, work on the nervous system and energetic pathways of the body. Through trauma, these energetic pathways become imbalanced, depleted, or blocked which affect the body’s vital organs and the body’s ability to function optimally. Once the trauma is understood, acupuncture allows identification of the energetic patterns, a diagnosis, and the development of an individualized treatment protocol utilizing Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture, moxabustion, cupping, Guasha, Tuina, acutonics, homeopathy, herbal formulas, nutritional supplements and nutritional counseling. Patients are met in their current state without judgment or expectation, and the treatment protocol that is presented is co-created with each patient so that success and healing can be achieved.

Expressive Arts Therapy offer the traumatized individual a safe, sacred space to share their story and the related feelings that have previously felt unmanageable. Therapy also offers the unique wisdom that can be found only in highly skilled listening, reflection, and understanding.

Expressive Arts Therapy provides the patient a creative outlet, a way to investigate the purpose of symptoms, and a safe way to release feelings that have been previously contained inside. Patients reverse shame-based thinking patterns and behaviors and the ways in which unexpressed feelings manifest through physical symptoms. This empowers patients to feel a part of their own recovery and to return to a place of wholeness in places where they have been broken or hurt.

Art Therapy and Infertility

Liferoot Acupuncture and Healing Arts offer a combination of healing modalities to help support the journey to conception. Ten to fifteen percent of individuals or couples in the United States are infertile. Infertility is defined as not becoming pregnant despite having frequent, unprotected sex for at least a year.

Infertility can be caused by varying factors including, but not limited to, the following: medical conditions, advanced age, and unresolved emotional issues. Regardless of the reason, infertility is a symptom of a deeper cause and can be best treated to success with the use of a holistic protocol addressing both body and mind. Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture, and psychological services can be used as adjuncts to Western medical approaches to fertility. This whole person approach allows increased success overall, as infertility treatment is viewed as a multi-faceted, all encompassing, 360 degree physical and philosophical approach.

Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture have been used to treat infertility for over two thousand years. These ancient techniques and protocols nourish and balance a woman or man’s body to achieve optimal health, and, in turn, increased fertility. Acupuncture helps to balance and regulate the menstrual cycle which helps to fine tune the chances of regular ovulation. Acupuncture serves to increase blood flow to the uterus which improves the chances of an ovum implanting in the uterine wall. Acupuncture helps to increase the function of the ovaries and improve the quality of eggs. It directly reduces both stress and anxiety, both of which secrete hormones and chemicals in the body that can decrease opportunities for conception.

Studies have shown that the use of acupuncture and herbal formulas/nutritional supplements increase the chances of conceiving by up to 40-60%, helping to achieve the reality of conceiving and carrying a baby to term.

Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture is used to balance, strengthen, and nourish overall health which increases the effectiveness of all supplemental fertility protocols and procedures.

Art Therapy and Acupuncture

The cutting edge combination of Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture, and expressive arts therapy is incredibly powerful and effective. Liferoot Acupuncture and Healing Arts is excited to offer this novel and eclectic blend to assist patients in understanding potential underlying emotional components to their healing and to best expedite a complete recovery. Even we as practitioners are taken aback at the success of the joint venture.

The combined expertise provided in back-to-back treatments offers three dimensional, whole person healing potential. Patients are met with a gentle, compassionate atmosphere that inspires healing from the inside out. Acupuncture and therapeutic services each, on its own, address the body, mind, and spirit. However, in combination, the dynamic wrap-around allows for physical symptoms to be addressed directly, while the related emotional issues, thought patterns, and spiritual symptoms are simultaneously met first hand. There is more healing power available when all of an individual's physical, mental, and spiritual energy is used together. The individual is more fully integrated in this respect.

When all imbalanced aspects of the body, mind, and spirit are NOT taken into consideration, it is only a matter of time before they manifest as physical and emotional symptoms. Each individual has a unique style of communicating distress through nonverbal cues, physical ailments, and overall imbalance. The body communicates, often boldly, what is difficult to express in words. Both the good in one's life and the dis-ease can contribute to overall health.

If both mental and physical aspects of a problem are taken into consideration from the beginning of treatment, the results are faster, deeper, and more comprehensive which creates a more permanent change. The combination of acupuncture and art therapy is also preventive, as underlying driving pathways of energy and emotions are changed together. The increased state of balance creates the ability to respond to life with health and clarity. A deeper understanding of the emotional and energetic patterns, and how these manifest in the body, provides tools for lifelong recognition of potential risk factors, skills to make healthy changes, and prevention.

At Liferoot Acupuncture and Healing Arts, each treatment plan is individualized and custom made for the patient in treatment. This unique combination of acupuncture and art therapy may be seen as a powerful means of reversing the disease process.

Carmen Haley, Psy.D., ATR

Dr Carmen Haley Carmen Haley holds a doctorate degree in psychology and works in practice as a registered art therapist. She is an artist as well. In practice, Dr. Haley uses a combination of traditional verbal therapy and expressive arts to create the best atmosphere for overall healing. She develops an individualized, respectful treatment plan to honor each patient.

She has been in the clinical psychology field for over twenty years with experience in individual therapy, child and adolescent therapy, family therapy, group therapy, inpatient and intensive outpatient programming, graduate level teaching, supervision, and hospital curriculum development. Dr. Haley completed five years of predoctoral training under Colin A. Ross, M.D., founder of the Colin A. Ross Institute for Psychological Trauma, where she enhanced her work with survivors of sexual, physical, and emotional trauma. She has completed advanced training under Niravi Payne, M.S. on the psychological aspects of infertility. She is experienced in the use of psychodynamic role play and art therapy to facilitate healing. She currently teaches at the graduate level and has designed doctoral level courses on the use of art therapy with the eating disordered and trauma populations. Dr. Haley is an experienced public speaker and has given regular presentations on art therapy and recovery from trauma.

She works directly with practitioner Kym Kleiman, L.Ac. to implement a unique, effective whole person recovery addressing the mind, body, and spirit.

She is honored to share her experience at Liferoot Acupuncture and Healing Arts.