Course Description

Welcome to Trauma-Informed Expressive Arts Therapy--the Beta Version! 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. 

Video Presentation: The Seven Principles of Trauma-Informed Expressive Arts Therapy

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. 1
    • About Cathy Malchiodi, PhD

    • Syllabus, Goals and Objectives of this Course

    • Disclaimer

    • Walkthrough Your Course and Its Features

    • Trauma-Informed Practices Suggested Books

    • Special Note About Art Materials and Expressive Arts Assignments

    • Guiding Principles

    • What is Expressive Arts Therapy?

    • What is Expressive Arts Therapy? A Brief Film

    • From Psychotherapy Networker: A Brief Explanation of Expressive Arts Therapy

  2. 2
    • What is Trauma-Informed Practice?

    • Trauma-Informed and Non-Trauma-Informed

    • Trauma-Informed Care: Sanctuary Model

    • Healing Centered Engagement as Trauma-Informed Practice

    • Trauma-Informed Expressive Arts Approach to Disaster Relief

  3. 3
    • Why Arts-Based Expression is Important to Trauma Intervention

    • What is Trauma-Informed Expressive Arts Therapy?

    • The Seven Principles of Trauma-Informed Expressive Arts Therapy

    • Culturally-Sensitive Trauma Intervention

    • What Art Therapy Learned from September 11th 2001

    • The Four Functions of Expressive Arts Therapy

    • The Integrative Nature of Trauma-Informed Expressive Arts Therapy

  4. 4
    • Sensory-Based Trauma Intervention

    • A Reparative Sensory-Based Experience

    • Why Creative Interventions Are Effective When It Comes to Traumatic Stress

    • Regulation, Co-Regulation, and Expressive Approaches

    • Coming to Our Senses: Neuroscience and Expressive Approaches

  5. 5
    • Neuroscience: Enhancing Understanding of Trauma Memory and Reactions

    • Neurodevelopment and Trauma

    • Developmental Trauma Disorder

    • Adverse Childhood Events (ACES)

    • Repair of Early Trauma: A Bottom-Up Approach

    • Intergenerational and Historical Trauma

  6. 6
    • Bottom-Up and Top-Down Processing

    • Expressive Therapies Continuum: A Model for Trauma-Informed Expressive Therapies

    • Three-Part Harmony of the Expressive Arts Therapy Approach

    • Expressive Therapies Continuum: A Brief Film Presentation

    • Neurodevelopment and Expressive Arts Therapy: Summary from the Film Presentation

    • Be Your Own Expressive Arts Researcher on the ETC

    • Body Outline Download

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

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

    • Watch the Expressive Therapy Continuum in Action

  7. 7
    • How Do We Present Ourselves as Safe?

    • Safety, Self-Regulation, and Proxemics: Brief Film Presentation

    • Putting on the Brakes: Managing Emotional Regulation

    • Managing Emotional Activation

    • Using Drawing and Expressive Arts to Enhance Self-Regulation

    • Visual Journaling, Self-Regulation and Stress Reduction

    • Drawing on Mindfulness | Self-Regulation and "Silence" in Expressive Arts

  8. 8
    • The Neurobiology of Safety

    • How We Self-Soothe Post-Trauma

    • Safe or Peaceful? Formulating a Question

    • For Fun: The Imperial March of the Ducks

    • A Safe, Peaceful or All-Fine Place for a Duck: How Do You Feel Safe?

    • Ducks Download

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

    • Film Presentation on "Creating an All-Fine Place for a Duck"

  9. 9
    • Identifying How the Body Responds to Traumatic Events

    • The Body Keeps the Score

    • The Body, Movement and Expressive Arts

    • Body as a Map of Subjective Feelings and Sensations

    • Body Outlines and How to Apply in Psychotherapy

    • Maps of Subjective Feelings Research Laboratory

  10. 10
    • Self-Regulation as a Critical Competency

    • Mindfulness as Self-Regulation

    • The Mindful Exhale

    • Using Sound, Sighs, and "Outbreaths" as Regulation

    • Body Outlines

    • Sigh Worksheets

  11. 11
    • Resilience

    • Adaptive Coping and Resiliency

    • Thinking About Resilience through Cultural and Social Justice Lens

    • Posttraumatic Growth

    • Expressive Arts Therapy, Resilience, and the Immune System

  12. 12
    • Circle of Capacity: Another Way to Talk About Resilience

    • Expressive Assignment: Resilience-Building Experiential to Explore Capacity

    • Tree of Capacity: A Brief Film to Introduce the Process

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

  13. 13
    • Final Exam

  14. 14
    • You are almost finished!

    • Course Evaluation

    • Regarding the Use of Material in this Course

    • Response Question Regarding Course Material

    • Certificate of Completion Qualification

    • Certificate of Completion

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