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Into the Abstract: The Magic of Expressive Arts Therapy

Updated: Apr 6

It is in the abstract that I feel most alive as an artist … and most anxious. There's immense freedom and possibility but with a canvas staring blankly back at me, I can feel caged by expectation. Stories of perfectionism, comparison and doubt often arise moments before I make my first mark. There's a place here, in the abstract, that beckons the depths of my being forward, bringing with it all the stories and conditioning of the outside world. And perhaps this is the very reason I chose the Expressive Arts Therapy pathway as a therapist- to gently dance with the inner world and begin to listen to the whispers of ipseity (selfhood) all while sheltered safely within the creative process. Oh, and the no obligation to talk part.

The largest abstract piece I've created that lives in centre stage at our beautiful studio space. "Coming together"

The world is so focused on the concrete and the tangible, the productive and the measurable but the human experience is so much more complex than what is visible and "known".

Many years ago I gifted my autistic brother a giant watercolour iceberg and written in the corner was a reminder to him - "You are so much more than they see". This is true for each of us, and as a fellow neurodivergent, I am all too familiar with presenting my masked iceberg to the world that I never, quite, felt like I fit in. This iceberg later became the background of the Ipsarty logo.

I'm an abstract kind of human; pieced together by curiosity, passion, suffering, will and quirk. My human experience is abstract, one of a kind.. just as everyone else's is. And herein lies the power, because we all paint our own abstract stories and we all have our own abstract answers. All the frameworks and therapeutic interventions in the world can never replace the ethereal and transformative power of your own intuition. Learning to listen to this and trust in your unique self-knowledge is where expressive arts therapy comes in.

Here, we embrace the power of artistic expression to venture beyond the confines of traditional therapies, tapping into the wisdom of the bodily senses and using the arts to experience our way of being in this world from a birds-eye view. We interact with this form and practice what it feels like to experience enoughness, confidence, strength and autonomy.

At the heart of Ipsarty Arts Therapy lies the recognition that the abstract holds an enigmatic language of its own—a language that transcends words and logic, and resonates deep within our souls. Through the diverse and immersive mediums of art—be it painting, sculpture, movement, sound, or poetry—we embark on a sacred exploration of your abstract, unearthing hidden emotions, memories, and insights that lie dormant within. We invite you to step into our abstract therapeutic process, where brushstrokes, gestures, and improvisations become gateways to the innermost recesses of the psyche. Here, the act of creation is revered, and the process becomes a conduit for self-reflection, emotional release, and personal transformation (if you choose). No prior artistic expertise is necessary—only a willingness to surrender to the uncharted territories of the abstract.

I think it's fitting to call this blog- INTO THE ABSTRACT- because it is here that you have a window into my abstract view as Expressive Arts Therapist, nurse, mother, neurodivergent, trauma survivor, philosopher, writer, artist and advocate.

I hope these musings serve you, educate you and inspire you to live as the expert in your own abstract life.

With curiosity always,

Mel x



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