Course Description

Welcome to Trauma-Informed Expressive Arts Therapy! This is the 12 CE foundation course for understanding how art therapy and other arts-based approaches enhance trauma-informed practice with children, teens, adults and families. This is a more comprehensive version of the live course of the same name. This is the first course in the Trauma-Informed Expressive Arts Therapy Level One Certificate Program.

This course provides participants with an understanding trauma-informed practice and in particular, trauma-informed expressive arts therapy as it applies to trauma intervention with children, teens, and adults who have experienced loss, abuse, disaster or other events.

Session Objectives:
Each session is designed to provide an overview of the topics outlined in the syllabus. Participants complete short assignments, quizzes, arts-based activities and written responses to enhance their understanding of the essential components in the application of trauma-informed practice using art and creative approaches to trauma intervention. Participants will also complete a comprehensive final exam at the end of the course.



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. 


This 12 CE course is the foundation for both the EXAT [Expressive Arts Therapist, Trauma-Informed] and EXA-CE [Expressive Arts Coach Educator] designations. For more information on these designations, see the Menu above this course page. 

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

    General Information About The Course

    • About Your Instructor

    • Syllabus, Goals and Objectives of this Course

    • Walkthrough Your Course and Its Features

    • Trauma-Informed Practices Suggested Books

    • Special Note About Art Materials and Expressive Arts Assignments!

    • Guiding Principles

    • Review: What is Expressive Arts Therapy?

    • Quiz Instructions

    • Ace this Quiz! Review of Art, Play, and Other Expressive Therapies

    • Why Play Therapy with Traumatized Children

  • 2

    Section 1: What is Trauma-Informed Care?

    • What is Trauma-Informed Practice?

    • Trauma-Informed and Non-Trauma-Informed

    • Trauma-Informed Care: Sanctuary Model

    • Test Your Knowledge: Trauma-Informed Practice

    • Healing Centered Engagement as Trauma-Informed Practice

    • Art Therapy, Post-Earthquake: A Short Film Presentation

  • 3

    Section 2: What is Trauma-Informed Expressive Arts Therapy?

    • Why Arts-Based Expression is Important to Trauma Intervention

    • What is Trauma-Informed Expressive Arts Therapy?

    • What Art Therapy Learned from September 11th 2001

    • Test Your Knowledge: Trauma-Informed Expressive Arts Therapy

    • Creative Interventions with Traumatized Children: Introduction to Arts-Based Approaches with Youth

  • 4

    Section 3: What is Sensory-Based Intervention and Why is it Important to Trauma-Informed Care?

    • Sensory-Based Trauma Intervention

    • A Reparative Sensory-Based Experience

    • Comment on Sammy's Case

    • Equine-Assisted Therapy and Trauma-Informed Care: A Short Film

  • 5

    Section 4: The Basics of Trauma

    • Neuroscience: Enhancing Understanding of Trauma Memory and Reactions

    • Neurodevelopment and Trauma

    • Developmental Trauma Disorder

    • Developmental Trauma

    • Adverse Childhood Events (ACES)

    • The Repair of Early Trauma: Film Presentation

    • Intergenerational and Historical Trauma

  • 6

    Section 5: Expressive Therapies Continuum: A Brain-Wise Framework for Addressing Trauma

    • Expressive Therapies Continuum

    • Expressive Therapies Continuum and Neurodevelopment

    • Body Outline Download

    • Expressive Assignment: Time to Gesture and Draw! Part One of ETC Experience

    • Assignment Part One: Upload Your Drawing

    • Expressive Assignment: Time to Go on to the Next Level-- Perceptive! Part Two of ETC Experience

    • Assignment Part Two: Upload Your Body Outline

    • Expressive Assignment: Time to Write! Part Three of ETC Experience

    • Expressive Assignment: Upload Part Three of ETC Experience

    • Expressive Arts Top-Down and Bottom-Up Approach to Trauma: An Infographic

  • 7

    Section 6: Safety: The Essential Foundation

    • Where do You Feel Safe? What is Your "All Fine Place?"

    • How Do We Present Ourselves as Safe?

    • Putting on the Brakes: A Short Film

    • How Do You Put on the Brakes?

    • Managing Emotional Activation

  • 8

    Section7: Safety, Attachment and Self-Soothing

    • The Neurobiology of Safety

    • Short Film: Self-Soothing and Trauma Recovery

    • Safe or Peaceful? Formulating a Question

    • A Safe, Peaceful or All-Fine Place for a Duck

    • Expressive Assignment: Creating a Peaceful Place or All Fine Place

    • Assignment: Upload Your Assignment

    • Assignment: Duck Written Response

  • 9

    Section 8: The Body Keeps the Score and Expressive Arts

    • Identifying How the Body Responds to Traumatic Events

    • The Body Keeps the Score

    • The Body, Movement and Expressive Arts

    • Using Drawing and Expressive Arts to Enhance Self-Regulation

    • Somatic Experiencing and the Aftermath of an Earthquake

  • 10

    Section 9: Self-Regulation

    • Self-Regulation as a Critical Competency

    • Mindfulness as Self-Regulation

    • Mindfulness Meditation and Body Scan

    • Using the Body Scan | Self-Care Assignment

    • Assignment: Relaxation

    • A Self-Regulation Expressive Arts First Aid Kit for Trauma

    • What is Your Preferred "First Aid Expressive Arts Experience?"

  • 11

    Section 10: Resilience, Post-Traumatic Growth and Trauma-Informed Practice

    • Resilience

    • Road to Resilience from the American Psychological Association

    • Adaptive Coping and Resiliency

    • Preview Test Your Knowledge: Resilience

    • Posttraumatic Growth

    • Test Your Knowledge: Posttraumatic Growth

    • Posttraumatic Growth: Finding Meaning and Creativity in Adversity

    • Response to Reading on Posttraumatic Growth

  • 12

    Section 11: Let's Try Some Resilience-Building

    • Expressive Assignment: Resilience-Building Experiential

    • Assignment: Creating a Tree of Resilience

    • Short Response to Your Resilience Tree

    • Final Thoughts: Resilience in Context of Social and Environmental Challenges

  • 13

    Section 12: Back to the Guiding Principles for Trauma-Informed Practice and Expressive Arts

    • Back to Guiding Principles

    • Smallest Witnesses: Film Presentation

    • Feedback: Smallest Witnesses

  • 14

    Section 14: Final Assignment and Quiz

    • Final Paper

    • Assignment: Final

    • Final Exam

  • 15

    Section 15: Congratulations!

    • You are almost finished!

    • Course Evaluation

    • Certificate of Completion Qualification

    • Certificate of Completion

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