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Art Masterclass



Maria Riccardi & Lisa D. Hinz

Embodiment of the Expressive Therapies Continuum: Teaching Theory through
Living Memories and Stories

The expressive therapies continuum (ETC) provides a theoretical structure for understanding the ways in which people interact with art media to process information and form images (Kagin & Lusebrink, 1978; Lusebrink, 2010). Understanding the ETC framework can enhance accuracy of assessment and increase treatment efficacy (Hinz, 2020). Although this significant theory is foundational and applicable across all expressive therapies (Kagin & Lusebrink, 1978), student feedback demonstrates it is a multifaceted concept to learn. Therefore, the instructors of this workshop have designed an embodied method of teaching the theory that utilizes personally relevant objects, imbued with personal memories, to engage students and professionals in the learning experience. Art making will be deepened by a poetic narrative approach to solidify learning (e.g., Kaimal, Mesinger, Carroll-Haskins, 2020) and to provide guidelines forusing embodied experiences to explain, clarify, and amplify the ETC theory.

Participants in this workshop will use objects and memories to demonstrate each of the three bipolar ETC levels and their necessity for optimal functioning. Participants will begin by interacting with their object at the kinaesthetic/sensory level where involvement with sensation and movement define experiences. At the perceptual/affective level, participants will create an artwork defined by formal artistic elements and emotionally evocative materials. Finally, a poetic living story will be created at the cognitive/symbolic level.Participants will leave the workshop with a better understanding of the ETC and an artwork which embodies the creative level.

Four presenters representing graduate art therapy programs in three different countries will share their perspectives on this embodied teaching method. Through art making and dialogue, this workshop will support expressive therapies educators in their ability to teach the ETC. Specific attention will be paid to material interaction, art media properties, art process, and art product (Hinz, 2016; Pénzes, van Hooren, Dokter, Smeijsters, & Hutschemaekers, 2016; Snir & Regev, 2013).


Hinz, L.D. (2016). Media considerations in art therapy: Directions for future research. In: Gussak, D.E. and Rosal, M.L. (Eds.), The Wiley handbook of art therapy (pp. 135-145). West Sussex, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.
Hinz, L.D. (2020). Expressive Therapies Continuum: A framework for using art in therapy (2nd edition). Routledge.
Kagin, S.L., & Lusebrink, V.B. (1978). The Expressive Therapies Continuum. Art Psychotherapy, 5(4), 171-180.
Kaimal, G., Mensinger, J.L., & Carroll-Haskins, K. (2020). Outcomes of collage art-based and narrative self-expression among home hospice caregivers. International Journal of Art Therapy, 25(2), 52–63.
Lusebrink, V.B. (2010). Assessment and therapeutic application of the expressive therapies continuum: Implications for brain structures and functions. Art Therapy, 27(4), 168-177.
Pénzes, I., van Hooren, S., Dokter, D., Smeijsters, H., & Hutschemaekers, G. (2016). Material interaction and art product in art therapy assessment in adult mental health. Arts & Health, 8 (3), 213-228.

Maria Riccardi

Maria Riccardi M.A., M.Ed., ATR-BC is a registered art therapist, a career counsellor, and a licensed clinical psychotherapist. She is an adjunct professor of art therapy at Concordia University and at l’Université du Québec in Abitibi-Témiscamingue. She collaborates with local non-profit organizations and mental health institutions, developing community-based art studio programs for adolescents and adults who are marginalized due to mental and physical health issues, immigration issues, and poverty. She has founded a clinic in Montreal based on the expressive therapies continuum, providing educational and emotional support to children and families. Her current research interests include media properties and their role in assessment and the expressive therapies continuum.

Lisa Hinz

Lisa D. Hinz, Ph.D., ATR is a licensed clinical psychologist and a registered, board certified art therapist. Dr. Hinz is an adjunct professor in the art therapy doctoral program, Notre Dame de Namur University and she has a private practice in art therapy. Dr. Hinz is theauthor of many professional publications and the second edition of Expressive Therapies Continuum: A Framework for Using Art in Therapy was published in 2020 by Routledge.

Recent publications and conference presentations

Maria Riccardi

Whitaker, P. & Riccardi, M. (2019). Public relations: Art therapy pedagogy out of bounds.
Journal Canadian Art Therapy Association, 104-114.
2019: Hinz, L.D., Riccardi, M. & Van Meter, M. Pre-conference course presentation: Art-Based Assessment, treatment and supervision. 50th annual American Art Therapy Association Conference, Kansas City.

Lisa Hinz

Haeyen, S & Hinz, L.D., (in press). The first 15 minutes in art therapy: Painting a picture from the past. The Arts in Psychotherapy.
Lusebrink, V.B., & Hinz, L.D. (2020). Cognitive and symbolic aspects of art therapy and similarities with large scale brain networks. Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, 37,3, 113-122, DOI: 10.1080/07421656.2019.1691869
2019: Hinz, L.D. Workshop: Introduction to teaching the Expressive Therapies Continuum. Presented to the Art Therapy faculty of HAN University of Applied Sciences, Nijmegen, Holland.

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