Presence is understood to be a way of being that encourages authentic connection (Eberhart & Atkins 2014). This concept of open presence in the therapeutic relationship allows for the creative arts process to develop safely. Both the therapist and the client must be open to, and allow, the idea of the arts being therapeutic for the process to develop naturally.
The process of expressive arts therapy is focused in on the act of art. It is the clearing of the mind, emotional release, and acceptance of the moment. The process of expressive arts therapy may not be “pretty” but it is meaningful. Experiencing art also takes a non-judgemental stance. Expressive arts therapy focuses on what comes out of the art and not what the art looks like. Focus is on details that elicit emotion and how the product was developed.
This does not have to be a grand technical piece of art. This does not even have to be a tangible thing. Most people walk away from the expressive arts experience feeling different. An angry slash of a black marker on blue paper can unleash a well of emotion that you did not know you were holding. The takeaway is focused on how you experienced the activity and how it has changed your perception in this moment.