A body-focused, trauma-informed art therapy that will appeal to art therapists, somatic experiencing practitioners, bodyworkers, artists, and mental health professionals
While art therapy traditionally focuses on therapeutic image-making and the cognitive or symbolic interpretation of these creations, Cornelia Elbrecht instructs readers how to facilitate the body-focused approach of guided drawing. Clients draw with both hands and eyes closed as they focus on their felt sense. Physical pain, tension, and emotions are expressed without words through bilateral scribbles. Clients then, with an almost massage-like approach, find movements that soothe their pain, discharge inner tension and emotions, and repair boundary breaches. Archetypal shapes allow therapists to safely structure the experience in a nonverbal way. Sensorimotor art therapy is a unique and self-empowering application of somatic experiencing--it is both body-focused and trauma-informed in approach--and assists clients who have experienced complex traumatic events to actively respond to overwhelming experiences until they feel less helpless and overwhelmed and are then able to repair their memories of the past. Elbrecht provides readers with the context of body-focused, trauma-informed art therapy and walks them through the thinking behind and process of guided drawing--including 100 full-color images from client sessions that serve as helpful examples of the work.
"Cornelia Elbrecht’s newest book offers an indispensable guide to help our clients overcome challenges, particularly our younger clients or community members who are hesitant to engage in more traditional ''talk'' therapy modalities. This integrative, sensorimotor-based art therapy modality offers collaborative tools to awaken insight and intuition; foster focus, calm, resilience, and connection; and facilitate healing and integrate mind, brain, and body."
—Bonnie Goldstein, PhD, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute, Boulder, Colorado, and Lifespan Psychological Center, Los Angeles
"Cornelia’s book is a much welcome and significant contribution to this field.… She generously shares her wealth of experience: theory and descriptions of practical exercises are well integrated and together with case examples make the book lively and engaging."
—Val Huet, PhD, chief executive officer of the British Association of Art Therapists
"To read this book is to watch a master at work.… Cornelia Elbrecht charts new territory in neurobiologically-informed trauma treatment. Her decades of experience as a sensorimotor art therapist are rooted in the understanding that no psychological process can be experienced separately from the body. Illumined by deeply moving case studies, this handbook is a must-read for expressive therapists, trauma treatment specialists, and holistic practitioners. The author’s wisdom, experience and inspiration shine through on every page."
—Lucia Capacchione, PhD, ATR, REAT, director of Creative Journal Expressive Arts Certification Training and author of
The Power of Your Other Hand and
Recovery of Your Inner Child
"It is revitalizing to read this contemporary and provocative text that sensitively addresses the complexity of trauma and trauma healing. This pivotal text is an essential must-have as it will most certainly progress the discipline and discourse on trauma healing in profound ways."
—Ronald P.M.H. Lay, MA, AThR, ATR-BC, art therapist, supervisor, and MA art therapy program leader, LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore
“Follow the footprints of a master into the realm of psychological healing. A must-read for anyone interested in practicing art therapy.”
—Monica Wong, PsyD, faculty, Hong Kong Institute for Counseling Professionals
"This wonderfully useful and inspiring book takes as its foundation the idea that guided drawing can be curative.… It is the Somatic Experiencing of the art therapy world.…"
—Jean Bennett. Deputy Programme Leader of the BA (Hons) Creative Expressive Therapies program and Senior Lecturer in MA Art Therapy at the University of Derby, UK
"Cornelia Elbrecht’s book draws the reader’s attention to an understanding of how line, shape, form, colour and movement in art making can have dynamic impacts on the client who has experienced trauma. This text contributes a unique perspective to the literature on art, healing, and trauma."
—Patricia Fenner, PhD, senior lecturer in art therapy masters program, La Trobe University School of Psychology and Public Health, Australia
“This accessible and practical book weaves together a wealth of information about ways of working with creative processes and bodily awareness to provide new possibilities of recovery for those affected by trauma and emotional issues. It provides a valuable resource of ideas and theoretical rationale suitable for all levels of experience, from those just embarking on their therapeutic journey, to highly experienced practitioners.”
—Amanda Levey, BA, MAAT, ATHR, registered psychologist, program leader of arts therapy at
the Whitecliffe College of Arts and Design, New Zealand
“This book is a wonderful merging of depth psychology and contemporary neuroscience theory. The author illustrates the often-neglected truth that the brain is a part of the body. Overall, a significant step forward toward conceptualizing art therapy as work of the body as well as the mind.”
—Christopher M. Belkofer, PhD, ATR, LPC, director of the graduate art therapy program at
Mount Mary University
CORNELIA ELBRECHT is founder and director of the Institute for Sensorimotor Art Therapy based in Australia. She holds degrees in fine arts and art education in addition to her extensive postgraduate training in various art therapies, Jungian analytical psychology, bioenergetics, Gestalt therapy, bodywork, martial arts, and somatic experiencing. She teaches sensorimotor art therapy throughout Australia and around the world.