Integrative Expressive Arts

[Photo: Celebrating visioning and drumming workshop, Dunwich 2009]

‘The expressive arts emphasize an interdisciplinary or inter-modal approach to creative endeavor. The field is grounded not in specific techniques or media but in how the arts can respond to multitude of human experience from life challenging situations to self realisation.
Expressive arts professionals, such as therapists, consultants, educators and artists, work with symbols, text, movement sound and other various media grounded in the body and imagination.
Expressive arts practitioners are sensitive to individuals’ needs during the creative process and are committed to fostering a compassionate environment for listening, speaking and witnessing.’ – The International Expressive Arts Therapy Association.

Why use expressive, integrative arts?
During our lives, our energy can become compressed by limiting inner voices and beliefs, leading to depression and confusion. Or it can be released and expressed freely without judgement, leading to expansive optimism and efficient thinking. Expressive arts activate all our senses in the process of communicating thoughts and feelings. The focus is on the here and now, relationships, body image, or healing and revealing our creative self.

Expressing ourselves non verbally can involve collage, paint, clay, movement, sound, rhythm, sand tray, drama and journaling. During coaching and consultation, the facilitator gives you activities and questions that lead to incorporating several modes of expression in which you are your own guide in a sort of meditative, self counselling process. This releases energy so that it can play freely through your body and release deeper levels of knowing that are personal to you, and which you have the option to share or not.

How does CLIA COACHING work?

CLIA COACHING sessions are centred on the Reflective Listening Method, Visionning(R) and Creative Journal Expressive Arts. This is an innovative approach using integrative expressive activities linked with the journal and ‘voice dialogue’ that prompts a contemplative, self questioning process. The facilitator gives activity prompts and guidance with no obligations for verbal sharing and no judgement or analysis.

The integrative arts activities hold your dreams and intuitions firmly in mind, especially when addressing the Inner Critic. No blocks are insurmountable – playfully teasing out our feelings releases old habits of thinking and make inner spaces for new insights.

What do we do?

Our programme for adults includes: CLIA Coaching for individuals, CLIACoach and CLIAImage [CLICK for more details] Consultancy for groups, Career Coaching, One Day Workshops.

For children with additional learning needs we provide: One hour sessions of Therapeutic Learning Support through Child-directed Play and Creative Journal.

CJEA – Creative Journal Expressive Arts uses a variety of integrated activities aimed at supporting your own exploration of health or learning outcomes. Incorporating voice dialogue with journal and art, the body expresses through the right brain, and the non dominant hand,. The active ego expresses through writing and the dominant hand. This approach was pioneered by Lucia Capacchione in her work within educational and health contexts. It uniquely supports the brain’s integrative wiring, which research suggests, maximises the immune system’s ability to fight disease and releases our capacity for peak performance.

More about the activities:

Vision mandala collage

Jung had an insight about the circular symbol as both a healing and spiritual expression of our innately self integrating psyche. This principle is developed through Visioning Mandala Collage. In groups or as individuals, we focus through meditative reflection on our goal, heart’s desire or search for meaning. Journal activities help us to form our first thoughts, before we start a circular – or ‘mandala’ – collage. You will create a collage of images representing different aspects of your life, task or desired goal, and ask yourself questions about those symbols in journal form. Through integrating clay, role play and sand tray work, the different aspects of your path to your goal will become clearer, your intentions stronger and your imaginative body/mind ready to act on immediate objectives.

Sand tray mandala:

Based on the Margaret Lowenfeld/s ‘World Technique’, our approach to sand tray work is to use it as a way of telling the story of your life from where you need to start: perhaps to solve a problem, resolve relationships, develop a view of your life in the future, or review aspects of your work. You can work from a non directive point, after a short period of stillness, responding to a felt sense in the body or an image off the top of your head. Alternatively, you may want to work from a specific journal entry or coaching question. You simply browse through the collection of little objects, figurines or materials that have been laid out in the room, selecting ones that stand out or ‘speak’ to you. You then arrange them in the tray in a way that makes some sense to you. The design can be a mixture of sculpture (sand and materials) movement (of the objects), 3-dimensional collage, drama (voice dialogue) and intuitive reflection. You are then given guiding questions to make journal entries, with either your right or left hands. You may share what comes up but this is optional, as there is no pressure to speak out feelings or insights. These may become part of a concluding journal/coaching session. As sand tray story is used as an integrative part of Creative Journal Expressive Arts, it can lead into further journal activities, clay-work, voice dialogue, collage or role play. I use circular trays that help feelings tell their own stories, and that integrate the different aspects of the design within a symbolic enclosed space.

‘The landscape’s message’ MM 2009


As we shape and reshape the clay, a lot happens in our bodies and to the feelings stored in our muscles and tissues. We usually chose a focal point from an aspect of our lives, which very often relates to the tensions, frustrations, angers and distresses of life’s daily challenges. As we punch, poke, tear and generally bend the clay to our will, it becomes a symbol of a feeling. Our hands express all those forbidden unspoken responses we guiltily store in our inner world, and soon a sense of calm settles, as our emotions energise our thoughts, and relief turns to joyful play. This activity plays a vitalising role within the creative sequencing of journal and expressive arts, bringing the body’s vitality into play and releasing the will to become part of a new sense of purpose and motivation.

‘CLAY-PLAY – Feeling reluctant to have an operation’ CY 2009


Brain Evolution

Light House

Woodland Project

Theatre of LIfe


Video ‘Three Wise Men’

Captain Karanga (left) and Harry


The non dominant hand expresses feeling, intuition, flow, passion and colour. This painting is my first, it is what I have always wanted to do: put energy into colour so that it leaps off the page.
Fire at Sea 2011

Charlotte Yonge is an Affiliate Member of IEATA – International Expressive Arts Association; and accredited CJEA Creative Journal Exipressive Arts Coach and Facilitator.
For more information about Creative Journal Expressive Arts and Visioning, visit;