Who Should Attend?
These small, in-depth, master workshops are designed for practicing clinicians, educators, students, and others interested in expanding their knowledge of the expressive arts in healing. All workshops are appropriate for participants at varied levels of expertise.

Institute Goals
• Work directly with master therapists, pioneers in five arts modalities and play therapy.
• Enhance your knowledge of theory and practice in the expressive therapies.
• Explore approaches to individual and group treatment for clients of all ages.

Continuing Education Credits Available for Most Clinical Disciplines

Pre-Conference Course


Assessment and Treatment of Abused and Traumatized Children through Play Therapy and the Expressive Arts (Gil)
Children are naturally drawn to reparative processes such as drawing, playing, singing, movement, dramatics, storytelling, and other expressive outlets to self-soothe, understand, and begin to assimilate difficult experiences and emotions. This day-long course will explore an integrated approach to working with traumatized children that addresses the phenomenological aspect of interpersonal trauma; the use of expressive therapies for assessing, communicating, and processing traumatic events; plus other interventions from the trauma model, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy. These varied strategies enable the clinician to reach, engage, and facilitate full participation by abused and traumatized children in their recovery process. Child artwork and videos of sessions will be used to illustrate theory and demonstrate practice.

Workshop Descriptions


Poetry and Drama: An Enlivening and Enriching Integration (Irwin and Heller)
The workshop leaders will introduce participants to a unique integration of these healing modalities through a process in which words move off the page into enactment, creating dramatic and meaningful experiences. The images, ideas, and feelings evoked will provide the substance for discussion and poetic expression with feedback potential. Participants’ creative responses to spontaneous play within the safety of a holding environment open possibilities for their enhanced self-awareness and interaction. The leaders offer an adventure into a developmental continuum, applicable to personal and professional practice.

From Creativity to Community: A Multimodal Journey from Self to Group (Rubin)
This workshop offers a journey from a private playful place through a series of interactions with increasingly larger groups of people. Using a wide variety of art materials, participants engage in the creation of both two- and three-dimensional work, culminating in a group interaction that involves movement and drama as well as graphic expression. This series of experiences is inherently multimodal, multidimensional, and often generates insights and awareness at each stage of the process, as well as in the closing reflective phase.

It All Starts with a Breath: Dance/Movement Therapy (Chaiklin)
The body and its mechanisms are responsible for everything we are capable of being, doing, and experiencing—physically, emotionally, cognitively, even spiritually. As human beings, it is not unusual for us to be restless regarding who we are within our bodies. Much depends on whether our current or previous life experiences are affirming and sustaining, or confound us with challenges, stumbling blocks, or obstacles. This workshop will explore how to attend to the body’s messages, and how to allow the self to use the body to create in and through space via the medium of dance. Participants will have time for self-discovery and learning, as well as communication and connection with others, as they move and interact within the group. Dance Therapy theory and techniques will be the grounding to enable experiential learning in an open dialogue through words, sound, and movement.

Improvise, Compose! Exploring Therapeutic Possibilities for Creation and Realization (Robbins)
Engaging and motivating a client in individual or group therapy requires “clinical musicianship” in the therapist. Audio and video excerpts from music therapy sessions will be used to illustrate a wide variety of creative activities with children and adults. Participants are invited to join in the exploration of improvisational and compositional modes to explore and examine a broad array of clinical techniques, musical resources, and approaches. The interrelated roles of clinical intuition and musical inspiration in improvising and composing for therapy will be clarified and discussed.


Music and Dance Are Partners: Exploring Two Dynamic Spaces (Robbins and Chaiklin)
In dance we have the freedom to move in physical space; in music, the freedom to move in tonal space. In this creative adventure, the session leaders will collaborate with participants to explore these two dynamic spaces. Linked by the elements of movement and rhythm, a spectrum of expressivity and meaning can be communicated, depending on the tempo, complexity, and intensity with which the dancer dances and the music maker “musics.” Participants will explore the possibilities for spontaneous discovery and aesthetic creation that these two spaces, one mysteriously within the other, offer us: As we dance so shall we music—and as we music, so shall we dance.

Wayfarer, the Only Way is Your Footsteps (Heller)
With Antonio Machado's poem "Wayfarer" as inspiration, we will take an old-fashioned walk revisiting scenes and experiences of our lives with new eyes. Coming from all walks of life to this moment and this place, we bring memories related to world events and personal adventures. We got from there to here, where we will stroll and strobe, write and share.

Free Association in Art and Imagery: A Wordless Trip through the Mind (Rubin)
Join us on a voyage of visual discovery. By using art materials and thinking with the hands and eyes, rather than with words, we will follow the unfolding of our internal imagery. Based on the analytic method of free verbal association, free image association facilitates a unique trip through the mind via two- and three-dimensional imagery. Using whatever art medium is appealing to you, following the image spontaneously turns out to be not only surprisingly easy, but incredibly fruitful. Each participant’s trajectory is always different, and each offers a fascinating mirror to view and reflect upon the inner self as its narrative is revealed.

Exploring and Understanding the Power of Play, Fantasy, and Enactment (Irwin)
In this workshop, participants will experience some of the components of creativity, play, and drama that contribute to its healing potential in therapy. Following a developmental continuum moving from imaging, body awareness, and movement to dramatization, participants will learn more about how to use fantasy and dreams to explore, express, and to understand feelings within the safety of a holding environment.