PUB HLTH 7019 - Expressive Therapies: Creative Arts in Counselling

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2021

Counselling with expressive and creative arts therapies is an area of specialised competencies that requires an advanced person-centred perspective. Expressive and creative arts therapies involve flexible application of skills and knowledge to the practice of counselling and psychotherapy. This course will introduce theory, research and skills in a range of strength-based modalities that utilise the creative arts. Expressive therapies skills and approaches are designed to provide highly flexible, individualised and evidence-based ways of supporting a wide range of clients across the lifespan, who present for counselling with a variety of presenting issues. Expressive therapies can be most valuable in support of the development of emotional regulation, self-reflection, self-awareness and self-discovery. Presented in a seminar format, this course introduces students to a range of modalities, that include the use of metaphor, symbol work, art, therapeutic writing, music in therapy, and somatic-focused activities. Reviews of recent research, and the use of non-verbal, creative arts-based activities will be integrated into a highly experiential skills-based program.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code PUB HLTH 7019
    Course Expressive Therapies: Creative Arts in Counselling
    Coordinating Unit Public Health
    Term Semester 2
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact 7 x 5 hours
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange
    Prerequisites PUB HLTH 5006, PUB HLTH 5007, PUB HLTH 6018, PUB HLTH 6021
    Restrictions Available to MCounsPsych students only, or with approval of Program Coordinator
    Course Description Counselling with expressive and creative arts therapies is an area of specialised competencies that requires an advanced person-centred perspective. Expressive and creative arts therapies involve flexible application of skills and knowledge to the practice of counselling and psychotherapy. This course will introduce theory, research and skills in a range of strength-based modalities that utilise the creative arts. Expressive therapies skills and approaches are designed to provide highly flexible, individualised and evidence-based ways of supporting a wide range of clients across the lifespan, who present for counselling with a variety of presenting issues. Expressive therapies can be most valuable in support of the development of emotional regulation, self-reflection, self-awareness and self-discovery.

    Presented in a seminar format, this course introduces students to a range of modalities, that include the use of metaphor, symbol work, art, therapeutic writing, music in therapy, and somatic-focused activities. Reviews of recent research, and the use of non-verbal, creative arts-based activities will be integrated into a highly experiential skills-based program.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Alexandra Bloch-Atefi

    Course Coordinator: Paula Gillespie-Fotheringham
    Phone: +61 8313 6276
    Location: Level 11, 178 North Terrace

    Student & Program Support Services Hub
    Phone: +61 8313 0273
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1 Outline knowledge of the underlying theories, core concepts, and therapeutic stages of key creative arts modalities as applied to counselling and psychotherapy across the lifespan;
    2 Critically appraise research studies related to the clinical application of various creative arts modalities;
    3 Demonstrate an understanding of the practical application of expressive therapies, the structure of counselling sessions,  developmental stages in therapeutic alliances;
    4 Analyse and apply a variety of techniques to specific counselling populations; techniques may include therapeutic writing, use of
    art and music, sandplay therapy and symbol work, somatic and dance/movement activities, and their application within integrative models;
    5 Demonstrate practical knowledge of common counselling issues presented by clients of all ages, and the application of an  integrated use of expressive therapies in response;
    6 Recognise and respond to issues of cultural diversity and individual differences, including trans-cultural therapeutic support,  learning styles and multiple intelligence preferences in the application of expressive therapies;
    7 Synthesise and apply intervention skills for working with clients to reduce distress;
    8 Appraise resources to support continuous learning regarding the application of expressive therapies in counselling and psychotherapy.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources

    Pearson, M., & Wilson, H. (2009). Using expressive arts to work with mind, body and emotions. Theory and practice. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

    Links to a selection of current research articles on expressive therapies modalities will be made available.

    Counselling and Therapy in Video – via university library:


    Recommended Resources
    Carey, L. (2006). Expressive and creative arts methods for trauma survivors. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

    Malchiodi, C. A. (Ed.) (2005). Expressive therapies. New York: Guilford Press.

    Malchiodi, C. A. (Ed.) (2012). Handbook of art therapy (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford Press.


    Bolton, G., Field, V., & Thompson, K. (2006). Writing works: A resource handbook for therapeutic writing workshops and activities. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

    Darnley-Smith, R., & Patey, H. M. (2003). Music therapy. London: Sage.

    Halprin, D. (2002). The expressive body in life, art, and therapy: Working with movement, metaphor and meaning. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

    Levine, E., Knill, P., & Levine, S. K. (2004). Principles and practice of expressive arts therapy: Towards a therapeutic aesthetics.  London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

    Pearson, M., & Wilson, H. (2001). Sandplay and symbol work: Emotional healing and personal development with children, adolescents and adults.  Melbourne: ACER Press.   (On-line as separate chapters).
    Wiener, D. J. (Ed.) (1999). Beyond talk therapy: Using movement and expressive techniques in clinical practice. Washington, DC:  American Psychological Association. doi: 10.1037/10326-000

    Online Learning
    Seminar and activity notes will be made available through MyUni.

    Links to an extensive list of recommended articles and DVDs will be made available via MyUni.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This course will be experiential and interactive, with 7 workshop/seminars in the second semester. The overall teaching philosophy aims to catalyse critical and reflective thinking, embed learning through experiential activities/ skills practice sessions, in order to prepare for flexible responding to counselling clients.

    Workshops will include short didactic sessions, small group and large group discussions, and regular skills practice activities. The  lecturer/s will use illustrations from their case work, and case scenarios presented by students on practicum, along with structured exercises and small-group learning activities, as a way of supporting students to engage with – and reflect on – the various  creative arts modalities. 

    Students will be exposed to a variety of creative arts modalities. There will be an emphasis on applying the learning to students’ practicum work where relevant.

    The didactic and other face-to-face sessions will be supported by relevant readings and video demonstrations. Assessment is  designed to assist integration of learning and development of skills.

    All workshops will include the application of theoretical perspectives through skill development exercises and role-plays, with a final workshop in which collaborative videoed skills demonstration by student groups will be both peer-assessed and lecturer-assessed.
    Class work will be supported by regular reflection in a personal Process Journal. Two written individual assignments will assist integration of theoretical and experiential perspectives.

    In order to develop a further sense of competence with the relevant therapeutic skills, students will be asked to form small groups of 3 or 4 students and record a short video of a counselling session in which they will be required to use a specific creative arts modality. An excerpt (15 mins) from the video-taped session will be screened in class. Students will facilitate a learning conversation with the
    class. The aim of the video is to provide students with the opportunity to learn through collaborative reflection on the skills they are developing.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    An intensive format of 1 x 7 hour, 5 x 4 hour, 1 x 3 hour practicals.
    Learning Activities Summary
    Week Topic Activities
    Week 1
    9am - 5pm
    Orientation to the course; History of Expressive Therapies; Theory of multiple intelligences and its relevance to counselling and psychotherapy; Client-centred practice; Strength-based support.

    Introduction to creative arts modalities.
    Client assessment and evaluation using multiple intelligences

    Developing emotional literacy through imagery.
    Week 2
    9am - 1.30pm
    Rationale for multi-modal approaches; Session stages and planning; Case conceptualisation; Record-keeping; Use of metaphor. Combining the creative arts in therapy

    Communication through metaphor
    Week 3
    9am - 1.30pm
    The development of the creative therapist; Art in therapy – use of colour, line, shape and imagery.

    Research methods in the use and application of creative arts.
    Reflective, process and completion

    Creativity self-reflection.
    Week 4
    9am - 1.30pm
    Therapeutic writing – the co-construction of healing narratives

    Music as a therapeutic intervention
    Use of sentence starters, journals, and poetry.

    Responding to recorded music, music making
    Week 5
    9am - 1.30pm
    Enhancing clients’ somatic awareness; Use of movement in therapy; Dance  therapy. Body focus; bioenergetics;  expressive movement; Relaxation.
    Week 6
    9am - 1.30pm
    Symbol work; Enhancing client reflection.

    Responding to cultural diversity.
    Rapport-building using miniatures
    Week 7
    9am - 12.30pm
    Analysis of collaborative videos of skills presentations / assessments. Review and discuss collaborative video skills presentations; Peer-assessed video presentation.
    Specific Course Requirements
    Students must be able to apply skills learned in the course, and present a case report in assignment form, during placement or in a counselling practice (with an adult client) in order to complete an assessment task.

    To pass this course, students must:
    · Attend all seven workshops.  In the case of illness a medical certificate will be required. If other unforeseen circumstances result in  missing a session, replacement work may be negotiated.
    · Submit two written assignments.
    · Participate in a collaborative video project / assignment, with at least two others, and facilitate an in-class learning conversation.
    · Participate in peer assessment of the video and facilitation of discussion.
    · Participate in class activities and discussions throughout the workshops.
    · Maintain a personal Process Journal, which may be viewed by the lecturer, but which is not assessed.
    Small Group Discovery Experience
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Task Type Weighting Learning Outcome
    Literature Review Essay Summative 30% 1-4, 6, 8
    Collaborative Skills Video Presentation and Class Discussion Facilitation Summative 25% 1, 3, 4, 5, 7
    Clinical Report: Analysis of Client Work Summative 35% 1, 3 - 7
    Class Participation Summative 10% 3, 5, 7
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Assessment Detail
    1. Literature Review Essay:

    Research and Application of Expressive Therapies
    30%   Word count: 2,000  

    Students will compare and contrast one expressive therapies technique from the course textbook with at least three recent (within the last 10 years) research papers relevant to the technique. The literature review will briefly describe the chosen technique and summarise its development, e.g. history, applications, typical client presenting problems where it is most useful, rationale for its inclusion, contemporary developments, and critique the types of researchevidence for effectiveness/non-effectiveness.

    MARKING GUIDE:                                        MARKS:
    Summary of history                                        15
    Description of modality                                   15
    Applications and client problems                    15
    Rationale for use of technique                       10
    Contemporary developments                         10
    Critique of research evidence                         25
    Correct use of APA referencing style              10

    2. Collaborative Skills Video:

    Presentation and Class Discussion Facilitation
    25%   Word count: 750    Presented in class at the final workshop.

    PART A: Students will work in small groups (3 or 4) to plan, script and video a 15 minute role-play of a session where one or more of the expressive therapy modalities presented within the course is used / demonstrated. Students will consult with the course
    coordinator about the chosen modality(s) before video recording.

    PART B: Each group will provide a short introduction to the video content, screen the video in class, and facilitate an interactive discussion following the viewing (approximately 30 minutes in total). The discussion facilitation should aim to elicit class reflection and engagement about the skills observed.

    Course coordinator assessment 15% - made up of:

    7.5% for skills demonstrated in video
    7.5% for facilitating class discussion on skills in video

    Peer assessment of skills in video and facilitation of discussion
    –as per matrix 10%

    3. Clinical Report:

    Planning and Analysing Client Work
    35%   Word count: 2,000  

    After meeting an adult client and a discussion about offering an expressive therapies-based session, gaining formal consent (signing of a Consent Form) you will be required to plan, conduct, reflect and report on a counselling session (usually the second or third session with the client). One or more of the expressive therapies modalities will be used during the session. Using a provided Session Summary Form you will give a brief description of the client’s needs and interests, describe your rationale for the use of the modality, your plan, the client’s main responses, the modifications that were needed to the plan, any observable outcomes from the session, your reflections and observations about the session, self-assessment of skills used, and ideas for possible future work
    with this client.

    NB: You must gain consent from the agency where the session is to take place, as well as from your clinical supervisor, and the client. A signed and dated Consent Form is to be forwarded to the Counselling and Psychotherapy Program administration staff
    at the same time the assignment is submitted, i.e. it is not to be submitted with the assignment.

    Consent Forms and Session Summary Forms will be made available via MyUni.

    MARKING GUIDE:                                                                                        MARKS:

    Description of the client’s needs and interests                                               10

    Rationale for use of the modality                                                                    20

    The session plan                                                                                             20

    Session Summary Form – includes client responses to modality                     20

    Reflection, modifications to the plan, self-assessment of skills                       20

    Future plans for work with this client                                                             10

    4. Course Participation

    10% Assessed by lecturer at completion of course.

    Assessment of class participation is based on consideration of your attendance record, ability to manage time (in terms of  attendance and assignment submission), engagement in developing and fostering group norms for the class, willingness
    to offer questions in class, engagement in small-group discussions and learning tasks, respectful and professional engagement with peers and staff, evidence of tolerance with peers and clients, and ability to modify behaviour in response to feedback from peers or staff.
    All extensions for assignments must be requested, at the latest, by the last working day before the due date of submission.  Extensions will generally be granted only on medical or genuine compassionate grounds. Supporting documentation must be provided at the time a student requests an extension. Without documentation, extensions will not be granted. Late requests for extension will neither be accepted nor acknowledged.

    Only the Course Co-ordinator(s) may grant extensions.

    Supporting documentation will be required when requesting an extension. Examples of documents that are acceptable include: a  medical certificate that specifies dates of incapacity, a police report (in the case of lost computers, car & household theft etc.), a letter from a Student Counsellor, Education and Welfare Officer (EWO) or Disability Liaison Officer that provides an assessment of compassionate circumstances, or a letter from an independent external counsellor or appropriate professional able to verify
    the student’s situation. The length of any extension granted will take into account the period and severity of any incapacity or impact on the student. Extensions of more than 10 days will not be granted except in exceptional circumstances.

    Late submission
    Marks will be deducted when assignments for which no extension has been granted are handed in late.

    All assignments, including those handed in late, will be assessed on their merits. In the case of late assignments where no  extension has been granted, 5 percentage points of the total marks possible per day will be deducted. If an assignment that is 2  days late is awarded 65% on its merits, the mark will then be reduced by 10% (5% per day for 2 days) to 55%. If that same  assignment is 4 days late, the mark will be reduced by 20% (5% per day for 4 days) to 45%, and so on.

    The School of Public Health reserves the right to refuse to accept an assignment that is more than 7 days late.

    Assignments submitted after the due date may not be graded in time to be returned on the listed return dates.

    Students submitting examinable written work who request (and receive) an extension that takes them beyond the examination  period are advised that there is no guarantee that their grades will be processed in time to meet usual University deadlines.

    If a student is dissatisfied with an assessment grade they should follow the Student Grievance Resolution Process 
    <>. Students who are not satisfied with a particular assessment result should raise their concerns with Course Co-ordinator(s) in the first instance. This must be done within 10 business days of the date of notification of the result. Resubmission of any assignment is subject to the agreement of the Course Co-ordinator(s) and  will only be permitted for the most compelling of reasons.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.