Healing Expressionism and art therapy. This month we’re covering the topic of “Life After Therapy.” What can you do to ensure you use effective coping skills? How do you stay positive when life suddenly throws a new obstacle at you? Will you revert back to negative coping or will you remember your tool kit in your time of need? We know, this is a lot to wonder. And for some of you, may strike up a bit of anxiety. Whether you are recently (or not so recently) out of therapy or you know the end of your sessions is approaching, start thinking about the positive ways you can cope.

Healing Expressionism: Art Therapy

We’re sure that a number of you have heard of art therapy before. However, for this blog, we’re calling this coping technique, “Healing Expressionism”. This is because we want to keep it an abstract tool. And not place any judgment on the “art” aspect of therapy. Essentially, the idea is to cope through positive means of expressionism. This could be through art or dance. Or perhaps through photography or writing poetry. Maybe you self-express through music or through writing short stories. Whatever it is, we hope you can begin to incorporate it into your life with frequency.

Healing Through Art

Art. It’s a pretty broad term. Some of us will immediately think of the “finer” variety. This includes classic murals, paintings, and drawings. Yet some will think of the physical art of pottery, carving, glass blowing, and jewelry making. And even further, there will be those that think of the more modern, like graffiti, digital photography, and graphic design. Consider trying out an art class hosted through your local community college. Or grab a friend and attend a painting event. Even try an adult coloring book or painting by numbers piece to distract your mind!

Healing Through Music 

Music. Many say music has saved them. Whether that be through a specific artist or group, or genre or style, it doesn’t matter. Music has a way of connecting souls like no other medium can. Not to mention, oftentimes we relate to the lyrics that have specific meaning to our own lives. We turn to music to help express ourselves, heck entire genres exist because of that said expression.

So, try picking up an instrument and use YouTube tutorials to teach yourself how to play. Blast the music you need to hear. Belt the lyrics if you need to. Scream or cry if need be. Use music to help others understand how you’re feeling. Think of it like a mixed tape. But rather than use it to tell your crush how you feel, use it to communicate your own current emotions. Especially if you aren’t sure how to verbalize them.

Healing Through Movement

Movement. An act of changing physical location or position. Moving is one of the most natural things we do. Our ancestors told stories, often acting them out to help remember the tale. We use movement to heal in many different ways. There are days we need to heal in gentler ways. Like meditation, breathing exercises, or yoga. There are days we need to heal in much more aggressive ways. Through activities like sports, working out, or martial arts. There are days we need to heal in more grander ways. Like blasting music and dancing, leaping, twirling, and tumbling. Join an intramural league. Or try a local dance class. In fact, most gyms let you try your first class for free. Find something that gets your heart pumping and channels those endorphins.

Healing Through Writing

Writing. Words. And language. It is through writing that we communicate the most. We use words in a number of ways. We use writing to convey a message or paint a visual. Writing is used to convict specific emotions and educate. We write poems, plays, music, and short stories. Not to mention novels, series, comic books, and scripts. Writing has evolved in such ways throughout the years. And has even become cyclical (emojis and hieroglyphics aren’t entirely different!). Use that journal to jot down your thoughts. Let the words flow as they are. If they come out in rhymes or haikus, let them be. Just let them out!

Healing Through Stories

The main idea of Healing Expressionism is healing through stories. Tell your story authentically in the ways that make you most comfortable. This looks different for each and every one of us. But these methods should all bring us peace in some capacity. We often express ourselves in ways that bring us the most joy. And you may not be at a place where you are ready to receive that joy. But if you practice self-love and authenticity, you may slowly realize how much expressionism means to you. And then you become free to tell your story the way you need to. On your terms.

Not Sure Where to Start?

We know, this could be a bit overwhelming. Which is why calling us is another option. We know this may be a hard decision to make. But again, we want to say that there is no shame in needing a bit of extra support. Cristina Panaccione and Associates Counseling has two locations in the South Hills of Pittsburgh. We are currently accepting a limited number of new patients. So check out our videos to learn more about how we can help come out of therapy.


* This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please contact a medical professional for advice.

Susan Rosemeier currently holds a Master‘s Degree in Professional Counseling from Liberty University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Science and Organizational Leadership from Trinity International University. Her background includes experience in case management, structural family therapy, individual & group therapy, and crisis counseling. She is a firm believer that the relationship between counselor and client is crucially important – and therefore strives to create a warm, caring environment in which to promote insight, healing, and growth.