The Experiential Therapies at The Renfrew Center are called Creative Arts Therapies. Creative Arts Therapies recognize the connections between the symbolic and the actual, and connect the meaning of the two with the patient’s healing process.
Whether it is not knowing how to tell their story, fear of not being understood or a reluctance to speak the unspeakable, many women have difficulty expressing themselves. Words and traditional psychotherapy alone may not be enough. The process of creating art, the moving in harmony with one's self and in meaningful interactions with others; and the dramatization, role playing and dramatic self-presentation in the safety of a therapeutic community, make it possible to experience and express feelings that enhance the path to recovery.
Experiential Therapies at Renfrew are led by Creative Arts Therapists, specifically trained to facilitate experiences that use a woman's inherent strengths as building blocks for her growth, and include:
- Art Therapy allows women to express themselves by using their creative process to draw or shape their feelings, derive comfort from being able to create symbolic containers to hold feelings or explore the image of their body through a body tracing. The artwork can also provide a record of progress made during treatment. The visual language of art, like the spoken word, is an effective mode of communication.
- Dance/Movement Therapy serves as a powerful means for women to explore their relationship to their bodies and risk connecting to others. The tendency of many women to cover feelings through intellectualization creates the need for them to access feelings and sensations. Through Dance/Movement Therapy, they may be able to form less adversarial relationships with their bodies, as well as discover that there is a connection between the meaning of their therapeutic experience and how they "move through life."
- Psychodrama provides women with opportunities to gain insight into situations that are problematic for them through the process of dramatic enactments and other action methods. Patterns and behaviors that once served a good purpose may need to be transformed to meet the needs of current situations. The process of making choices and representing and recreating an experience to gain understanding, take form in Psychodrama.