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Creative Arts Therapies

At the Centre for the Arts in Human Development, four creative arts modalities are offered to our participants. These are: Art Therapy, Drama Therapy, Music Therapy and Dance/Movement Therapy. Therapy sessions are conducted by either professional therapists or graduate student interns from Concordia University's Department of Creative Arts Therapies.

Participants in art therapy at the Centre engage in art-making experiences facilitated by graduate students in Art Therapy. The goals of these sessions are increased self-expression, self-esteem and authentic communication with others. Student interns support the development of basic art skills to enhance expressive abilities and expand the use of symbols in artwork, so that feelings, fantasies, and wishes can be shared either through the artwork, verbally, or both. Both non-directive and directive art-making experiences may be used to help participants reach their stated goals. Even in directed art-making experiences, students ensure that choices are made available to provide experiences of autonomy that enhance self-esteem. Sandplay therapy may also be used during art therapy sessions as another means of helping participants express their inner feelings and thoughts. Under both academic and on-site supervision, art therapy interns create further individual goals for each client, and develop art media and process interventions that serve these goals. Art therapy is offered in both individual and small group formats.

The essential aim of drama therapy at the Centre is to enhance the capacity of each participant for greater social integration. Drama therapy sessions strive to help participants improve in all spheres of functioning, especially the expressive and communicative; to provide tools to work through personal issues; and to afford opportunities for behavioural practice through acting out real-life situations within the safe context of drama. Participants at the Centre engage in a full range of the therapeutic processes of drama therapy, including dramatic play, improvisational  role-playing, guided imagery, story-telling, projective techniques with puppets and masks and psychodramatic methods. Drama therapy sessions are facilitated by graduate students in Drama Therapy. Student interns are provided with both academic and on-site supervision by registered drama therapists. The Centre offers drama therapy in both individual and group formats.

Music Therapy uses music as a primary tool in promoting therapeutic change, growth, and development in people on psychological, physical, and spiritual levels, within the context of the client-therapist relationship. At the Centre, the enhancement of self-esteem and socialization skills are the primary goals of the groups. Individual goals are also set for each person. Group musical improvisation, in which clients express their own rhythms, melodies and songs, comprises the primary mode of expression in the groups. How clients express themselves, including which instruments they chose to play, gives the music therapist valuable information about each individual. A wide variety of music therapy techniques are utilized to work with this material to achieve individual and group goals. Both directive and non-directive approaches are used in this group process. A certified master's level clinician conducts the Centre's music therapy groups, and is assisted by graduate student interns. Individual music therapy is offered by graduate students in Music Therapy.

Dance/Movement Therapy is the therapeutic use of movement in a process of working toward the integration of body, mind and spirit. The primary goals of dance/movement therapy groups at the Centre are for participants to experience pleasure in physical expression; to interact with one another and others with increased confidence and articulation; and to acquire skills which can support them in daily living, such as developing clarity in body boundaries and to experience the modulation of movement and energy that is necessary when adapting to daily situations. Dance/Movement Therapy encourages participants to expand their movement repertoire  and consequent possibilities for expression. Sessions are led by a professional dance/movement therapist and are assisted by graduate student interns.

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