September will see the launch of the newly accredited Expressive Arts Therapy program at the Vancouver School of Expressive Arts therapy. The program has officially partnered with the Vancouver School of Bodywork and Massage (VSBM) to offer a diploma certificate program, allowing graduates to become Certified Expressive Arts therapists.

Heather Dawson, Program Director at the Vancouver School of Expressive Arts Therapy said “The expressive arts program has had a long history with VSBM, so while it's not a new home for us, we're excited to be in a more official relationship with a facility that we've been with from the beginning. It’s a natural fit."

 HEather Dawson, Program director at the vancouver school of expressive arts therapy

HEather Dawson, Program director at the vancouver school of expressive arts therapy

The program, which is accredited through the Private Career Training Institutes Agency of BC (PCTIA), will give students greater flexibility in their post-study options and expand the range of applications for expressive arts therapy, bringing the discipline into more diverse environments.

The program also allows expressive arts to be added to previous ways of working that are compatible to the fields of therapy, education, health, community development work, working with children in various settings, and to supporting other fields of related interest where people are exploring creativity and personal resources.

It will also open up the possibilities for further cross-pollination with the school’s faculties for yoga teachers and bodywork practitioners.

The highly compatible nature of the three schools, mean they are often referred to under the umbrella term ‘healing arts’. Heather said students have been known to combine disciplines, with expressive arts therapists taking training in yoga and other somatic, or body-centred disciplines, such as bodywork and massage while some spa graduates have gone on to complete training in expressive arts therapy.

“Expressive arts therapy is part of a somatic based way of working. We’re more aligned with body-based work and with the somatics branch of psychology so we have great compatibility with the other body-centred work happening at the school in the spa and yoga faculties. I’m excited about the possibility of cross-pollination and building community between the disciplines in this way.”

The newly accredited Expressive Arts Therapy program starts in September this year. The 10-month intensive program will be taught on weekends and evenings in the trendy Gastown campus in downtown Vancouver.

The faculty at the Vancouver School of Expressive Arts Therapy have all studied expressive arts therapy extensively, work as expressive arts therapists and maintain an arts practice in their various fields of interest. This year, along with the new accreditation, the school is able to include a broader range of instruction with the introduction of an applied practice course that will focus on personal creative research guided by several new expert faculty members. While this way of building and developing skills and exploration is not new to the work, the program is now able to build on this fundamental creative research paradigm and include opportunities to work alongside practitioners that are integrating the work in new territory.