Coming Home, An Interview About Expressive Arts Therapy with Amie Burrell


We sat down with Amie Burrell to find out more about Expressive Arts Therapy and her workshop, “Coming Home”. Read below to find out more about this creative practice and what she has planned for us!

1.  What is expressive arts therapy?

AB: Expressive Arts Therapy utilizes the very basic human drive and need of creative expression as a healing modality.  A defining characteristic of Expressive Arts Therapy is that it is multi-model, meaning it uses several different art modalities to promote personal growth and well-being. Unlike traditional Art Therapy, change does not happen through analyzing a person's art, but rather it is the art-making process itself that reveals deeper meaning for the creator.


2. Why did you choose to get your Master’s in this?

AB: I sometimes have a hard time conveying my experience in words, so art-making has always been an important part of my self-expression. I feel the rhythms of life, art, and healing are tightly woven together. Expressive Arts Therapy is a modality that allows me to develop and explore these themes which are essential to my understanding of the world. I am profoundly curious about the human condition. I am getting a Masters in Psychology and have chosen Expressive Arts Therapy as a concentration. It is a language I understand and which has been effective for me in my own healing process.


3. How has EAT helped you?

AB: EAT has given me an outlet to express myself and build bridges between my inner and outer worlds. It is a huge relief to feel like something deep inside of me can be expressed without having to name or explain it. Also, I think that, as a society we have a lot to heal around "what" is art or "who" is an artist. We have created art to be something that is only for the gifted, talented, or elite. Yet when we look at our origins, art has always been an integral part of human lives. Often, this attitude of separation with art turns it into a product-focused endeavor. EAT has helped me to let go of the idea of making "good" or "bad" art. I get absorbed in the process itself which is more pleasurable than the finished product.


4. What’s an object you associate with “Coming Home”?

AB: When I first read this question, I thought of my feet. I think of all the different things we use to keep our feet, socks, sandals, boots, slippers, etc.— and with good reason! When my feet are uncomfortable, I have a hard time just staying in my body. Likewise, when my feet are happy, I feel more at home in my body.

When I think of a specific object, I have the image of one of my first pairs of shoes that I called my "rojo" shoes. They were little red buckled shoes that I adored. I still have the one for the right foot. It is just about as big as the palm of my hand now, so it is of no use. However, it is such a sentimental object to me that I have kept it over the years. I think anything imbued with meaning like this, anything we keep without good reason, creates a strong sense of home.


5. What do you hope students will get out of this workshop?

AB: I hope that as a group we discover our interconnectedness through the themes of home and belonging. I would love it if each person walks away surprised at what unfolds in their creative process and personal journey. My intention is for us to uncover treasures that are relevant and meaningful to our lives.



To register for Coming Home please click here.