Course Description

Course Meeting Dates:

November 17th

November 24th

December 1st

December 8th

December 15th

Course meets each date from 12 noon -- 3 pm Eastern Time/New York Time. There will be limited recordings of the lectures and slide presentations and posted to the course site. However, we do not post films of participants' discussions or experiential work to respect our learners' privacy.

Each session includes presentations on theory, practice, and research [generally the first hour]. The second hour is usually a hands-on expressive arts experience to help you understand the concepts and also to provide you will one or more practical approaches to using expressive methods. The final hour we encourage and facilitate discussion of what was experienced, have time for questions and answers, and summarize the session's key points and concepts.

This course site closes 30 days after Session Five. Please be aware that you will no longer have access to the site after that time. Please be sure to download and save all resource materials before this end date and complete course at 100% in order to receive and download certificate for CE/PD credit.


Bilateral Stimulation (BLS) is a widely used approach in many current strategies to address trauma. It is found in practices like Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and various forms of tapping and sensory integration methods. Sensorimotor Expressive Arts Therapy (SEAT)  complements BLS and incorporates developmental, brain-wise, and body-based concepts from contemporary and innovative trauma treatments. In contrast to protocols like Sensorimotor Psychotherapy® (SP) that focuses on talking about body awareness, SEAT values implicit communication -- the nonverbal expressions that reflect the body's experience of threat as well as safety.

The applications of these methods support the "Four Functions" of expressive arts therapy--- self-regulation, co-regulation, exploration, and restoration when it comes to trauma resolution (Malchiodi, 2020). This course also includes an introduction to Equine-Assisted Expressive Arts Therapy as developed by Dr. Elizabeth Warson (2021) using expressive arts, bilateral stimulation and EMDR approaches, and sensorimotor expressive arts therapy. 

This course provides an introduction to the concepts of BLS and SEAT. It also provides strategies for combining and complementing methods found in EMDR, sensory integration, and tapping as part of overall trauma-informed intervention. This is not an EMDR course, but we will be making reference to the principles and theories as well as other methods that focus on bilateral movement and stimulation.

Continuing Education Information

Counselors/National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). Trauma-Informed Practices and Expressive Arts Therapy Institute has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6557. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC are clearly identified. Trauma-Informed Practices and Expressive Arts Therapy Institute is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs. 

Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors. Trauma-Informed Practices and Expressive Arts Therapy Institute is an Approved Continuing Education Provider by the Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors. Our Texas Provider Number is 2318.

Art Therapy Credentials Board [ATCB]. The ATCB recognizes a variety of CEC activities, including those in the areas of professional and mental health counseling. These activities are clearly outlined in their recertification standards provided to all ATR-BCs in their recertification year and on their website. A minimum of six CECs must be earned in the area of ethics each cycle. If you are licensed as an art therapist in your state, please check with your state board to verify what types of CEC activities are acceptable for license renewal.

California Marriage and Family Therapists, Social Workers and Professional Counselors. As of July 1, 2015, the State of California /Board of Behavioral Sciences [BBS] amended its regulations for continuing education providers to include National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) as a "board-recognized approval agency." If you are licensed as a marriage and family therapist, social worker, educational psychologist or professional clinical counselor in California, NBCC Approved Continuing Education Providers are recognized by the BBS to fulfill continuing education requirements. As of July 1, 2015, required CE hours can be accumulated through self-study and distance learning. 

Institute Faculty

Cathy Malchiodi PhD

Cathy Malchiodi, PhD, LPCC, LPAT, ATR-BC, REAT holds a doctorate in psychology and is a licensed and board-certified art therapist and mental health counselor and has published numerous books, chapters, and articles in the field of art therapy including, Trauma and Expressive Arts Therapy: Brain, Body, and Imagination in the Healing Process, Creative Interventions with Traumatized Children, Breaking the Silence: Working With Traumatized Children, and Understanding Children's Drawings, which are standards in the field. She has trained counselors, therapists, and teachers throughout the United States, Canada, Asia, and Europe. In 2011, Cathy founded the Trauma-Informed Practices Institute to meet the need for professional education in the use of arts therapies, expressive therapies, mind-body approaches and resilience-building in trauma integration and recovery for children, adults and families. You can learn more about Dr. Malchiodi at her website


Institute Faculty

Elizabeth Warson, PhD

Elizabeth Warson, PhD, ATR-BC, LPC, NCC, EMDR II, EXAT is the founder of American Indian Art Therapy, based on her faculty research associated with the Graduate Art Therapy Programs at George Washington University and Eastern Virginia Medical School (2004-2013). Elizabeth currently resides in northern Colorado where she maintains an equine-assisted and arts-informed private practice, Healing Pathways LLC. As a faculty member for the Trauma-Informed Practices & Expressive Arts Therapy Institute, she teaches in person and online poly-informed, equine-assisted, and bilateral stimulation/sensorimotor-informed expressive arts therapy courses. Since 2003, her research interests comprise stress and pain reduction interventions for American Indian cancer survivors and their family members, culturally responsive stress reduction and visual journaling, and trauma-informed interventions. Elizabeth is a recipient of a 2010 National Endowment for the Arts (folk and traditional art) for a community-driven Coharie Heritage Empowerment Project, focusing on cultural preservation. Elizabeth received her BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 1989 and an M.A. in Art Therapy from Vermont College of Norwich University in 1993. She completed her Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies, with a specialization in research, from the School of Education at Colorado State University in 2008. Elizabeth has presented at regional and national American Indian and Alaska Native conferences on topics related to medical art therapy, stress and pain reduction interventions, culturally-responsive art therapy, visual journaling interventions, and narrative-based art therapy. Her publications comprise over 20 peer-reviewed journal articles and chapters in books. As a professional artist, she has exhibited her sculptural work nationally and internationally and is a recipient of an Ohio Arts Council fellowship award.

Readings and Resources Currently Being Updated!


We are always updating current courses, so expect to see many more additions to each session of this course as we get closer to the first live webinar. We also now add new additions from the literature to support evidence-based practice as required by continuing education and professional development for mental health and other practitioners. So check back soon to read more about the session topics as we continue to expand the curriculum with both current and practical resources to supplement your learning.

Course curriculum

  • 1

    Open for Registration!

    • Registration Now Open

    • Walkthrough this Live Webinar Site and Its Features

    • Syllabus, Goals and Objectives of this Course

    • ▶️ ZOOM LIVE format: notes and tips!

    • Special Note About Materials and Expressive Arts Assignments

    • What is Expressive Arts Therapy?

    • Bilateral Stimulation vs. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

  • 2

    Session One: Self-Regulation and Bilateral Work Part One--Beginnings and Warm-Ups

    • Bilateral Work and Self-Regulation--An Introduction to a Key Concept

    • Bottom Up or Top Down? An Expressive Arts Therapy Perspective

    • Florence Cane: Art Therapy and Bilateral Movement...the 1950s!

    • Florence Cane and "Body Liberating" Bilateral Work-- Early Foundations of BLS and Sensorimotor Expressive Arts Therapy

    • Four Types of Music Used in Bilateral WorK

    • Basic Bilateral Movements for Expressive Arts Therapy Sessions--Seated and Standing

    • BLS and Tapping

    • Crossing the Midline and Why It Might Be Important

    • Unilateral and Bilateral Movement

    • Gravitational Insecurity

    • OT Toolbox of Bilateral Activities

    • Evidence-Based Research--Vestibular System and Posttraumatic Stress

  • 3

    Session Two: Self-Regulation and Bilateral Work Part Two

    • Handout Session Two-- Pre and Post Scales

    • Just What Is Interoception?

    • The Science of Interoception: Film Presentation

    • Evidence-Based Examination of Self-Regulation and Trauma through Music and Rhythm

    • Sensory Integration and Attachment

    • A Review for Psychotherapists: From the EMDR Institute--A Basic Description and Explanation

    • A Review for Psychotherapists: EMDR Theory and Brief History

    • Bilateral Breathwork: Relaxation and Exhileration

    • A Little More on EMDR and the Science Behind It

    • Experiences with Bilateral Art

    • Bilateral Art and Self Regulation

    • Butterfly Bilateral Stimulation

    • Bilateral Artmaking

    • Original Healing Circle Protocol (without bilateral)

  • 4

    Session Three: Co-Regulation and Bilateral Work

    • Proprioception: Our Bodies In Space, Our Bodies Within Relationships

    • What is Co-Regulation? A Definition and Review

    • Expressive Arts Therapy Regulatory and Co-Regulatory Strategies: The Basics With Children and Youth

    • Evidence: Qigong and Tai Chi for Mood Regulation-- and Co-Regulation

    • Theraplay® and Bilateral Stimulation for Children and Caregivers | Co-Regulation through Bilateral Playful Approaches

    • Equine-Facilitated and Somatic Therapies

    • Co-Regulation Through Bilateral Movement, Sound, Synchrony, and Rhythm

    • Drumming as Rhythm and Co-Regulation, Drumming as Knowledge

    • The Evidence: Synchrony and Co-Regulation Through Novel Drumming Task

    • Physiological and Behavioral Synchrony Predict Group Cohesion and Performance: Open Access Research Download

    • Packing Tape Drum for Percussion and Bilateral Stimulation

    • EMDR and Drumming

    • Bilateral Music | Biolateral Sound

    • EMDR Music | Soothing Harmonies

    • Bilateral Stimulation Music

    • The Evidence: Bilateral Auditory Stimulation and Fear Reduction

  • 5

    Session Four: Exploration, Bilateral Stimulation, and Sensorimotor Expressive Arts Therapy

    • Evidence-Based Research: Do We Experience Emotions Bilaterally? It's Complicated

    • What is Sensorimotor Expressive Arts Therapy? An Integrative Approach to Trauma and Restoration of the Self via Psychology Today

    • Exploration Equals Imagination

    • Film Presentation: Foundations of Sensorimotor Expressive Arts Therapy with Dr. Cathy Malchiodi

    • Neuroscience of Sensorimotor Learning

    • Mirror Neurons and Neuroception

    • Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Interview

    • Sensorimotor EMDR

    • Resilience Model

    • Literature Review (body-based interventions)

  • 6

    Session Five: Restoration through Bilateral Stimulation and Sensorimotor Expressive Arts Therapy

    • Resensitizing the Body Through Expressive Arts

    • Additional Readings and Resources To Be Announced

    • Bilateral Stimulation and Positive Cognition

    • Neural Mechanism of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

    • EMDR and Resourcing

  • 7

    Bonus content: Final Readings and Resources

    • Art Therapy and EMDR

    • Art Therapy and Bilateral Stimulation

    • Bilateral Art and Integration

    • Bilateral Art and Integrating Therapy and Neuroscience

  • 8

    Final steps: You're Almost Done! Get Your Certificate

    • Final Steps to Your Certificate

    • Course Evaluation

    • Regarding the Use of Material in this Course

    • Final Questions