Expressive Therapy

At Streamwood Behavioral Health System, our Expressive Therapy program currently includes a combination of Music Therapy, Art Therapy and Recreational Therapy groups (with a limited number of individual sessions for BMN cases).

These groups are programmed daily and structured to incorporate and generalize skills that are also learned in therapeutic treatment models such as CBT, DBT, ACT and more through the use of creative arts and recreational interventions.

Our main goals in Expressive Therapy at SBHS are that patients will learn to practice safe ways of expressing thoughts and emotions and develop healthy coping skills through the use of creative expression and recreation activities. Our approaches are evidence-based and our research is continuously growing, as evidenced in professional journals for art, music and recreational therapy.

Our Professional Organizations

    • Art Therapy
      • Art Therapy Credentials Board (ATCB)
      • American Art Therapy Association (AATA)
    • Music Therapy
      • Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT)
      • American Music Therapy Association (AMTA)
    • Recreational Therapy
      • National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC)
      • The American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA)

What is Art Therapy?

    • An integrative mental health profession and form of psychotherapy that uses art making, the creative process and applied psychological theory to address emotional, cognitive and social needs
    • Uses art as a powerful tool to assist clients in visually communicating thoughts, feelings and experiences that may be too difficult to put into words or express verbally
    • Requires a Master’s Degree in Art Therapy and Counseling
    • Credentials: ATR-P, ATR and ATR-BC
    • Qualified to obtain clinical licensure (LPC/LCPC)

Common Misconceptions of Art Therapy

    • Anyone can call themselves an “Art Therapist” if they use art in therapeutic settings
    • Art Therapy = coloring, arts and crafts or paint by numbers
    • Art Therapists = Art Teachers
    • Only children can benefit from art therapy
    • Art Therapists interpret or assign meaning to the artwork

Implementing Art Therapy in Inpatient

    • Using art as a symbolic, metaphoric language to express thoughts, emotions and life experiences as a nonverbal communication tool
    • Adapting interventions to fit a wide variety of abilities and needs

Common Goals of Art Therapy

    • Self-expression
    • Identity exploration
    • Emotional regulation
    • Sensory stimulation
    • Identifying healthy coping skills
    • Building self esteem

What is Music Therapy?

    • An established healthcare profession in which music is used within a therapeutic relationship to address physical, emotional, cognitive and social needs
    • Clinical and evidence-based
    • Focused on using music to achieve identified non-musical treatment goals
    • Led by a professional with MT-BC credential (requires a music therapy degree and 1200 clinical hours)

Common Misconceptions of Music Therapy

    • Performance-based
    • Entertainment
    • Focused on musical goals
    • Led by a volunteer or non-credentialed professional

Common Goals of Music Therapy

Music Therapy uses and adapts music-based interventions to address clinical goals such as:

    • Practicing self-regulation, healthy coping skills and stress management
    • Increasing self-expression/improve communication
    • Practicing positive risk-taking and frustration tolerance

Effectiveness Research

    • On average, patients who receive music therapy services during hospital admissions reported overall satisfaction scores that were 3.4 points higher than patients who did not (Yinger & Standley, 2011).
    • Depressed adolescents listening to music experienced a significant decrease in stress hormone (cortisol) levels, and most adolescents shifted toward left frontal EEG activation, which is associated with positive affect (Field et al, 1998).

What is Recreational Therapy?

Recreational Therapy is a systematic process that utilizes recreation and other activity-based interventions to address the assessed needs of individuals with illnesses and/or disabling conditions, as a means to psychological and physical health, recovery and well-being.

What Do Recreational Therapists Do?

Provide treatment services to individuals using a variety of techniques including arts and crafts, animals, sports, games, dance and movement, drama, music and community outings.

Recreational therapists should not be confused with recreation workers, who organize recreational activities primarily for enjoyment.

Common Goals of Recreational Therapy

The purpose of Recreational Therapy is to improve or maintain physical, cognitive, social, emotional and spiritual functioning in order to facilitate full participation in life.

Specialized Areas

    • Adaptive Sports and Recreation
    • Behavioral Health
    • Community Inclusion Services
    • Physical Medicine/Rehabilitation

Community Resources