Narrative Expressive Arts Therapy

Instructor:  Shoshana Simons, Ph.D., RDT
Date:  June 4th and June 5th
Hours: Friday: 4:00 – 7:00 pm PT AND Saturday: 10:00 am – 1:00 pm PT
Location: Online via ZOOM
CE: 6 CEs available for WA and OR, please check with your state to confirm that CEs approved by an NBCC ACEP is acceptable for your CE needs.

Workshop Description

This class introduces participants to Narrative Expressive Arts Therapy, an integration of Narrative Therapy & multimodal Expressive Arts Therapy. Shoshana Simons, Program Chair of the Expressive Arts Therapy Program at California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) in San Francisco, has been developing the approach in collaboration with peers and students for over a decade.

Narrative Therapy and Expressive Arts Therapy are kindred approaches, each rooted in the spirit of creativity, empowerment and transformation.  In this approach, metaphor is used as the “portal of transformation” through which people are enabled to more deeply inhabit the rich texture and territory of their lived experience.  Narrative Expressive Arts Therapists move beyond words, collaborating with clients on the journey towards the illustration, vocalization, movement, articulation and performance of preferred, empowering self, familial and collective narratives.

A pivotal idea in Narrative Expressive Arts Therapy is that we live by stories shaped by the “landscape of pre-existing stories” embedded in the families, communities, social systems that inform the cultural norms and values we are born into. Using embodied sociometry, we will explore how these larger narratives can impact our personal stories and the stories our clients tell about themselves.

After being introduced to the foundational theories and practices of Narrative Expressive Arts Therapy, participants will have the opportunity to see live demonstrations of key practices as well as to personally experience them through dyad and group work.

In particular, students will practice the skills of externalization, re-storying and aesthetic-witness responding through the integration of multiple arts modalities.

Participants will also be introduced to the Collective Narrative Expressive Arts Practices being developed at the Expressive Arts Therapy Program at CIIS including Laundry of Life and Harvest of Life, used to build connection and resilience between couples and within families, groups and communities.

Learning Objectives

  1. Learn the “nuts and bolts” of narrative therapy through an expressive arts lens
  2. Deepen awareness of how socio-cultural & systemic factors impact the therapeutic relationship
  3. Learn how to integrate narrative expressive arts practices into building collaborative relationships with clients
  4. Learn how somatic awareness can be integrated into narrative expressive arts therapy
  5. Learn how narrative expressive arts therapy can be used with individuals, couples, families, groups and communities
  6. Learn about arts-based witnessing practices that bridge narrative and expressive arts therapies


Shoshana Simons, Ph.D., RDT is Full Professor and Co-Chair of the Expressive Arts Therapy Program at CIIS. Trained as a drama therapist and voice actor, Shoshana has a rich background in integrating performance and expressive arts structures into multiple contexts of work with children and adults in educational, therapeutic and larger systems. She has a particular interest in the integration of the arts into spiritual practice and socio-emotional development. She is passionate about using the performance and expressive arts as catalysts for healing and social change.

Over the last several years, Shoshana has focused on developing an expressive arts-centered approach to narrative therapy and is currently involved with the development of a blended learning Certificate Program in Narrative Expressive Arts Therapy. Shoshana is highly skilled in the art and science of teaching and curriculum development. She has over 20 years of practice integrating experiential learning methodologies into her classes, both face-to-face and online. In the early 1990’s she pioneered teaching blended learning classes in Narrative Therapy in Goddard College’s MA Counseling and Psychology program. Read full bio here…

This workshop offers 6 CEs for Mental Health Counselors, Marriage and Family Therapists and Licensed Social Workers.

Northwest Creative & Expressive Arts Institute is a NBCC Approved Continuing Education Provider ™,
ACEP No. 7014.

  • Narrative Expressive Arts Therapy
    June 4, 2021
    4:00 pm - 7:00 pm
  • Narrative Expressive Arts Therapy
    June 5, 2021
    10:00 am - 1:00 pm
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