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Person-Centred Expressive Art Therapy


Person-centred expressive arts therapy was originally developed by Natalie Rogers (later refers as N. Rogers), daughter of Carl Rogers, who has combined her father’s humanistic philosophy with creative approaches influenced by her artistic mother (N. Rogers, 1993; Merry, 1997; Tenzin-Dolma, 2000; Herron, 2005; Martinez, 2003; Sommer-Flanagan, 2007). Since an early age, N. Rogers developed her artistic skills from her mother, who showed her the ability to give attention, love and to provide supportive environments that fostered her creativity and care for others (Merry, 1997; Herron, 2005; Sommer-Flanagan, 2007). On the other hand, the ability to be a good listener with a non-judgmental attitude was a profound characteristic that she experienced directly from her relationship with her father, from whom she learnt that each individual has worth, dignity, and the capacity for self-direction (N. Rogers, 1987, 1993; Herron, 2005; Sommer-Flanagan, 2007).


Person-centred expressive arts therapy is aimed at facilitating growth and healing through the use of a variety of art forms such as movement, drawing, painting, sculpting, music, writing, sound, and improvisation in a supportive environment, which N. Rogers called creative connection® (N. Rogers, 1987; 1993; Herron, 2005). To acknowledge her effort and innovation of extending person-centred therapy into contemporary therapeutic work, N. Rogers was awarded the first Lifetime Achievement Award by the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association in 1998 (Herron, 2005; Sommer-Flanagan, 2007).


“It is difficult to convey in words the depth and power of the expressive arts process.

Really, you must taste it to understand it.”

My term defined for Person-centred expressive arts therapy:

The integrated process of engaging in various creative activities, and use of artistic ability for in-depth self-exploration and self-expression, without interpretation or judgement of the authentic movement, or any expressive art-process and product of the client, which enables them for constructive self-discovery, insight-awareness, and healing.                                                

(Azizah Abdullah, 2015)

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