Course Description

This is an online 6 CE continuing education course designed to help you understand and learn more about how expressive arts therapy approaches and methods complement and enhance self-regulation in people of all ages. This course emphasizes 1) what is self-regulation and why is it key to trauma-informed intervention 2) current knowledge about self-regulation and stress reduction in psychotherapy; 3) the neurobiology of self-regulation, including polyvagal theory, interoception, neuroception and social engagement; and 4) a variety of expressive arts therapy strategies for application in psychotherapy and counseling.


If you are taking this course as part of the curriculum for the EXAT [Expressive Arts Therapist, Trauma-Informed] and EXA-CE [Expressive Arts Coach Educator] designations, please also obtain a copy of Trauma and Expressive Arts Therapy: Brain, Body, and Imagination in the Healing Process. The core concepts presented in this course and in all of our courses are based on this book and if you are working toward the EXAT or EXA-CE, you are required to understand these concepts and approaches. 

You can purchase this book from Guilford Publications or Amazon and other booksellers in print and e-book versions.


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 https://www.cathymalchiodi.com/.

Course curriculum

  • 1

    Expressive Arts Therapy Approaches to Self-Regulation and Stress Reduction

    • About Your Instructors

    • Welcome to Expressive Arts Therapy and Self-Regulation and Stress Reduction

    • Syllabus, Goals and Objectives of this Course

    • Walkthrough Your Course and Its Features

    • Special Note About Art Materials and Expressive Arts Assignments!

    • Guiding Principles

  • 2

    Section 1: What is Trauma-Informed Care? A Review

    • What is Trauma-Informed Practice?

    • Trauma-Informed and Non-Trauma-Informed

    • What is Trauma-Informed Expressive Arts Therapy?

    • Quiz: Test Your Knowledge--Trauma-Informed Practice

    • Can Expressive Arts Be "Medicine" for Traumatic Stress?

    • Reflect on Trauma-Informed Practice and Expressive Arts

  • 3

    Section 2: What is Self-Regulation and Why is it Important to Trauma-Informed Care?

    • Self-Regulation and Sensory-Based Trauma Intervention

    • A Reparative Sensory-Based Experience

    • Affect Regulation for Traumatized Children

    • Self-Soothing and Trauma Recovery

    • How Do You Self-Soothe?

  • 4

    Section 3: The Neurobiology of Positive Feelings and Self-Regulation

    • The Neurobiology of Positive Feelings

    • What Are "Happy Chemicals"and Why Are They Important to Self-Regulation?

    • Creativity and Well-Being

    • Putting on the Brakes: Slowing Down Overactivation

    • How Do You Put on the Brakes?

  • 5

    Section 4: Interoception and Polyvagal Theory

    • Expressive Arts Therapy and Self-Regulation

    • What is Interoception?

    • More on Interoception and Why It Matters

    • Trauma, Interoception and Movement Practices

    • Stephen Porges: What is Polyvagal Theory?

    • Polyvagal Theory Explained by an Expressive Arts Therapist

    • Polyvagal Theory and Feeling Safe

    • Quick Tips to Regulate Your Vagal System

    • Additional Reading On Interoception and Polyvagal Theory

    • Interoception and Mental Health: A Roadmap

    • Polyvagal Theory, Equine Therapy and Horse-Human Relationships

  • 6

    Section 5: Expressive Arts-Based Self-Regulation

    • Managing Emotional Activation

    • Coloring, Doodling and Drawing: Recent Research on Self-Regulation Properties

    • Can You Doodle Your Way To Self-Regulation?

    • Group Co-Regulation through Expressive Arts

    • Let's See Your Self-Regulating Doodle

    • What Does Doodling Actually Do for US?

    • A Case Study on Doodling!

    • Feedback on Doodling as Self-Regulation

    • An Expressive Arts Therapy Approach via a Big Doodle

  • 7

    Section 6: Flow: Creative Self-Regulation

    • What is Flow? Why is it Important to Art Therapy and Resilience Building

    • Film Presentation: Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: Flow, the Secret to Happiness

    • Flow and Children

    • Feedback: What Gets You Into Your Flow State?

  • 8

    Section 7: Expressive Arts-Informed Stress Reduction in Psychotherapy--Overview of the Literature

    • Research on Arts-Based Research and Psychotherapeutic Outcomes

    • Stress Reduction with Native American Cancer Survivors

    • Effects of Art Therapy on Stress & Anxiety

    • Biomarker Research on Artmaking & Stress Reduction

  • 9

    Section 8: Healing Circle Experiential

    • Healing Circle Protocol for Stress Reduction

    • Body Scan Template

    • Share Your Healing Circle

    • Feedback: Healing Circle as a form of Stress Reduction

  • 10

    Section 9: Movement as Self-Regulation

    • How Movement Therapy Can Heal Traumatic Stress

    • Trauma, Self-Regulation and Expressive Arts

    • Polyvagal Dance Movement Therapy

    • Yoga Therapy and Polyvagal Theory

  • 11

    Section 10: You Are Almost Finished! Final Quiz

    • Final Exam

  • 12

    Section 11: Congratulations!

    • You are almost finished!

    • Course Evaluation

    • Certificate of Completion Qualification

    • Certificate of Completion

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