Celebrate with me! I just received confirmation that my application for REACE status (Registered Expressive Arts Consultant and Educator) was approved by IEATA (International Expressive Arts Therapy Association). It was quite an intensive and thorough application process that included a Masters degree in a related field, a minimum of 2000 hours of expressive arts work experience, 200 hours of expressive arts training, an autobiographical statement, a statement of philosophy, a portfolio of both personal process and of a case study (including visual elements), three professional letters of reference, a resume, an ethical guidelines statement, promotional material, and transcripts. I am quite honored to have my work validated by the Expressive Arts community in this way.
What exactly are the expressive arts? It is a way of using the arts for healing that draws on multiple modalities, moving from poetry to visual expression to movement for example. The focus is always on the process over product and so becomes an experience of creative freedom and discovery. I discovered the expressive arts when I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area for graduate school in theology, and was delighted that I finally had a language and framework for the way I was already leading retreats and engaging in spiritual direction. Much of my professional work has focused on integrating the expressive arts with spiritual formation. (For instance the Awakening the Creative Spirit program which offers expressive arts training to spiritual directors and my new Pastoral Ministry Supervision Group).