Hello Students,

First read mini lecture below and then create response with expressive arts for therapy for yourself or superhero clients. Enjoy, there is a list of some prominent expressive arts used in therapy below.  

Mini Lecture:

As you know now after researching and reading peer review articles, videos, web sites, for only seven weeks, personality is at the core of who we are. Personality tests are limited in that each test measures a quite different, narrow-in-scope aspect of personality. Therapists use specific tests for specific purposes. Not all tests are valid. Many online “tests” are not personality tests, but inventive approaches to foster conversation and self-reflection.

In week one I asked you to research philosophy, the discipline that precedes psychology. You did this to gain perspective to see the much grander picture of human self-reflection over thousands of years. Philosophy was the cradle for personality theory.

You also explored our capacity for creativity – reflecting on the power of creativity to invent language, simple tools, complex technology, ways to survive and thrive as well as destroy. And you shared your own adventure into creativity. How we use our capacity for creativity may depend not only on parental and social-cultural encouragement or disparagement, but also on core personality qualities such as levels of resilience, tenacity, curiosity, risk-taking, independence, need for recognition, permission for emotional expression and other qualities.

Personality theories shed light on different aspects of human development – how we develop some of the very qualities that make us unique and our ability to access the above qualities. A powerful emotional experience, such as love or hate or trauma can re-shape aspects of our personality – essentially change our core personality. However, much of the time we are not changing the core personality but instead changing how we express the qualities. While that change appears to an outsider to be a personality change, it is instead a shift in how the same trait is expressed! How do we measure the core qualities of an individual’s personality? How do we assess if he or she is dangerous or a genius? How do we use personality theories to help us understand the challenges, struggles, suffering, remarkable insights, and empower the client to heal from trauma, recover childhood qualities once lost to familial-social-cultural demands? We use personality theories to GUIDE our approaches to therapy!

And now you see the connections. There is far, far more to all of this. It takes decades to grasp the essential aspects of each theory. Most clinicians only study one or two as their favored leaning to work with clients. But of course, a different therapist will have different leanings. The more studied and wider range of study (in depth) that a therapist is, the more tools he or she has available to assist the client.

Therapists do not “fix” clients. Therapists have a road map (personality theories) and walk with the client so that the client uses his or her inner strengths to recover cognitive and emotional balance.

Those are the threads.

Discussion Directions:  This activity can focus on YOU, or you can focus on a superhero or heroine.

1. First, read the above mini lecture and comment on how this parallels your own learning. What do you think you missed? What do you feel most certain about? Limit to not more than 3-4 sentences.2. Locate THREE expressive arts used in psychotherapy and respond to the questions (I list the most commonly use expressive arts in psychotherapy below the questions). Keep your descriptions succinct, yet include the important details. Keep the question sections separate, use bold headings. Attach one article for each expressive arts’ approaches you select. Have fun. Enjoy! Dr.Dee

There are TWO OPTIONS to answer the questions below. 1) Use either YOURSELF, or 2) SUPERHEROES.

The CLIENT IS YOURSELF or SUPERHEROES. It does not matter which you decide to use, the idea is to show you grasp theory, expressive therapies, and developmental differences(recall your study of all the developmental theories such as Piaget, or Erikson, or Horney, or Anna Freud, or Vygotsky, and Attachment theory (Bowlby & Ainsworth). What would you (or a superhero) need at each developmental stage? How might an expressive arts approach in therapy help you (or the superhero)? If you decide to use superheroes, select a different hero/heroine for each of the three ages for therapy.

You OR a Superhero have seen by a trained specialist therapist who utilize the three creative/ expressive arts approaches you select for therapy (you or the hero). When I use the term SUPERHERO this can be any character from a fairy tale or book or movie or graphic novel – who is the heroine-hero? If you wish to use the Big Bad Wolf or similar, that is fine.

Which therapy would the therapist use for each of the following ages: YOU (or the hero) at some age between 5 to 10 yr old, BETWEEN 13 to 17 yr old, AND adult any age? BE SPECIFIC WITH AGE for each of the three therapies.

No need to give many details on personal problems – just state a reason for seeing a therapist, this does NOT have to be trauma. The REASONS to be in therapy DO NOT have to be real, nor especially traumatic – just simple reasons for seeing a therapist at each age. While the THERAPY choices are yours – the PROBLEMS ARE NOT YOURS.

 IF you decide YOU ARE TREATING THREE DIFFERENT SUPERHEROES, please name the superhero/ heroine, imagine the age (same as above), reason for seeking therapy can be related to the mythology around the superhero or you can make it up. Hero/heroines can be from graphic novels, or movies, or games, or fairy tales.

It really will not matter which type of client you select (you or superheroes) since the facts are anchored in PERSONALITY THERORY.


2.  b.  i.  Which expressive arts therapy would you have chosen for each age and why? (you select the specific age for therapy, keep age within the general categories I give above).ii. How might it have benefited you or superhero?iii. What personality theory would best help you grasp the use of each expressive therapy? Why?iiii. Which expressive arts therapy approach would you choose to be trained in as a therapist and why?


Consider the following – When you decide on the expressive therapy you want to use, include these key points in your brief introduction to the therapy. Define the approach succinctly, who was an originator or current prominent authoritative source, name the relevant professional association if there is one (for example for Play therapy it would be the Association for Play Therapy, APT), give a reference to a book or article that focuses on this expressive therapy, and if you found a video on the approach (such as Art therapy) give that link.

Tip: Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) is not a therapist who bring in his or her pet to be calming for clients. Nor are seeing eye dogs. Animal Assisted Therapy has specialized training for the animals and the therapist, and one animal is used with the clinician’s clients, not one animal for each client.


1. Play Therapy2. Music Therapy3. Animal Assisted Therapy4. Drama Therapy5. Art Therapy6. Dance or Movement Therapy7. Poetry Therapy8. Biblio Therapy9. Drumming Therapy10. Sandplay Therapy


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