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Serve Many Flavors of Expressive Therapies

April 15, 2019

Arts-based interventions always have held high priority for trauma and addictions trainer Jamie Marich, PhD, who says she strongly believes that as clinicians “we have to do more than just talk with people.” At the same time, Marich also believes that treatment programs have to do more than align with just one form of arts therapy, or any therapy for that matter.

“I hear people say, 'We use this modality at this facility,'” Marich tells Addiction Professional. “You're not ultimately serving clients if this is the only dish you're serving up.”

This week marks the release of Marich's newest book, Process Not Perfection: Expressive Arts Solutions for Trauma Recovery. It is available via Creative Mindfulness Media, the publishing arm of Marich's Institute for Creative Mindfulness. The book offers a comprehensive collection of information on expressive modalities, serving as a resource for both clinicians and patients. “I wanted to write a book that the general public could access too,” says Marich.

A buffet of possibilities

The book explores practices around art, music, dance, writing, drawing and other expressive pursuits. Marich says the modality that patients access is not as important as how they respond to the one in which they work.

In fact, “It's usually the practice we shy away from the most that has the most to teach us,” she says. From her own life, she cites drawing, which she always had seen as her weak link artistically. Working in this medium would ultimately help her step out of her comfort zone. “I realized that I'm not going to be creating a museum-quality piece, but then it was fun,” she says. “It took away my expectations.”

Her new book is organized around 15 “processes,” or collections of practices around a common theme. These include grounding, breathing, mindfulness and distress tolerance. Marich says the processes can serve as subjects around which to build group sessions.

The text is designed to help clinicans and patients proceed through the various stages of treatment and recovery, addressing challenges such as working through emotional blocks, gaining meaning out of relating one's story, and living a healthy life beyond standard concepts of self-care.

Creative Mindfulness Media has been formed to publish affordable materials in trauma recovery, addiction recovery and the expressive arts.

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