Creative Arts Therapy Program

Creative Arts Therapy at High Focus Centers

High Focus Centers offers Creative Arts Therapy in two of our locations: as a Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) in Paoli and as an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) in Lansdale.

What is Creative Arts Therapy?

“Creative Arts Therapists are human service professionals who use arts-based interventions and creative processes for the purpose of ameliorating disability and illness and optimizing health and wellness. Treatment outcomes include, for example, improving communication and expression, and increasing physical, emotional, cognitive and/or social functioning. Creative Arts Therapists are trained and credentialed according to their distinct profession and each Creative Arts Therapy field is governed by a separate professional association with a unique scope of practice. There are more than 15,000 Creative Arts Therapists practicing in the United States and around the world. Creative Arts Therapy organizations have been active in this country for over 50 years.”
National Coalition of Creative Arts Therapies Associations, Inc.

Learn more here: Creative Arts Therapy and Expressive Arts Therapy

Music Therapy

Music therapy is the evidenced-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship. A licensed therapist who has completed a program through the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) facilitates all music therapy groups. The therapeutic use of music helps clients develop physical, emotional, cognitive, communicative, and social well-being through receptive, improvisatory and compositional methods. Sample goals for music therapy can be integrated with partial hospitalization programming to facilitate self-expression, gain insight into treatment areas, regulate or modulate mood, learn coping skills, enhance relapse prevention, build group cohesion and increase self-esteem.

Music Therapists:

  • Dan Benonis, MA, MT-BC, LPC
  • Kelli Bechtel, MA, MT-BC
  • Morgan Dangin, MA, MT-BC
  • Brenna Allen, MA, MT-BC
  • Emily McIntyre, MA, MT-BC

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Art Therapy

Art therapy groups are facilitated by professional art therapists who utilize evidenced-based practices. The American Art Therapy Association states, “Art therapy is used to improve cognitive and sensory-motor functions, foster self-esteem and self-awareness, cultivate emotional resilience, promote insight, enhance social skills, reduce and resolve conflicts and distress, and advance societal and ecological change.” Art Therapists will utilize a range of visual art materials in group session to promote self-expression and treatment goals.

Art Therapists

  • Kate Fackina, LPC, LMHC, ATR-BC
  • Darian Fiorenza, MS, RYT-200
  • Kristen Moore, MAAT
  • Hannah Muller, MA

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Expressive Arts Therapy

The International Expressive Arts Therapy Association (IEATA) defines expressive arts as a combination of “the visual arts, movement, drama, music, writing and other creative processes to foster deep personal growth and community development. IEATA encourages an evolving multimodal approach within psychology, organizational development, community arts and education.” Expressive arts therapy groups are facilitated by professional Expressive Arts Therapists who utilized evidenced-based practices. Expressive arts therapy groups will utilize a range of modalities to promote treatment goals.

Expressive Arts Therapists:

  • Linda Conzentino, MSW, LCSW, Certified Dancing Mindfulness Facilitator, Certificate in Expressive Arts Therapy

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Dance/Movement Therapy

The American Dance/Movement Therapy Association (ADTA) defines dance/movement therapy (D/MT) as “the psychotherapeutic use of movement to promote emotional, social, cognitive, and physical integration of the individual.” D/MT is an evidence-based and trauma-informed modality that complements traditional forms of therapy to address a wide range of physio-emotional needs. Sessions may include movement analysis, medical movement therapy, integrated arts-based directives, improvisation, authentic movement and other various forms of somatic or occupational based movement therapies.

Dance Movement Therapists:

  • Romain Diaz, MA, BC-D/MT, LPC
  • Alexis Britford, MA, R-DMT

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Holistic Services

The holistic services team consists of practitioners and clinicians who are trained to facilitate yoga and holistic groups. These groups are designed to provide education about complementary healing modalities and provide an opportunity for clients to practice new grounding skills, which promote clients’ recovery and overall well-being. Holistic education/practice groups include many evidence-based practices including, but not limited to breath work, emotional freedom techniques (EFT), acupressure, mindfulness and sound healing.

Holistic Practitioners:

  • Phyllis Butler, BS, CHWC, Wellness Coach, Reiki Master, Personal Trainer
  • Nina O’Neill (Rizzo), MA, RYT, Yoga Teacher
  • Emily Vandergeest, BS, 200hr YTT, Trauma Informed YTT
  • Neha Patil, MSW, RYT-200
  • Elissa Sydor, MSM, PMP Sound Healer, Life Coach
  • Amanda Hershey, 500 E-RYT, YACEP, Usui Reiki Master

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Yoga Services

The ancient and mindful practice of yoga is intentionally adapted to complement the healing process. Sessions integrate several styles of yoga with a trauma-informed approach. Yoga sessions are proven to help move the nervous system out of stress response, which aids in symptom reduction and helps to facilitate the mind-body healing process.

Yoga Instructors:

  • Nina (Rizzo) O’Neill, MA, RYT-200, Certified Reiki Practitioner
  • Elissa Sydor, M.S.M, PMP
  • Emily Vandergeest, BS, RYT-200
  • Darian Fiorenza, MS, RYT-200 with trauma-informed yoga instruction certification
  • Neha Patil, MSW, RYT-200
  • Amanda Hershey, 500 E-RYT, YACEP, Usui Reiki Master

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the criteria for this program?2023-11-30T11:34:48-05:00

Anyone eligible for mental health and co-occurring PHP or IOP programming who is interested in the creative arts or who is seeking a different modality of treatment from talk therapy is eligible for this program. This is a mental health treatment program specialized in integrating creative modalities into treatment to promote clients’ treatment goals.

How might someone benefit from the Creative Arts Therapy program versus a general Mental Health program?2023-11-30T11:36:29-05:00

While a general mental health program utilizes evidenced-based talk therapy treatment approaches to meet treatment goals, a creative arts therapy mental health program utilizes art, music, dance, movement and holistic evidenced-based practices in combination with psychological theory to meet treatment goals and promote self-expression, self-esteem, resiliency, self-awareness, cognitive and sensory motor skills, symptom management skills, relapse prevention skills and interpersonal effectiveness skills. Individuals who may benefit from this programming include those who value experientials in treatment, have a trauma background, struggle with communication skills or who value the integration of self-expression in their mental health treatment.

Are the services offered in this programming evidence-based practices?2023-11-30T11:37:45-05:00

Each clinician serving in the program has a master’s degree and has received extensive education and supervision in the areas of creative arts and mental health. Each modality incorporated in treatment has peer-reviewed scholarly work to support its use in therapy. Some of these resources have been included above.

What types of sessions/modalities will the Creative Arts Therapy program provide?2023-11-30T11:39:01-05:00

Participants in the creative arts therapy program will engage in the therapeutic use of art, music, dance/movement and complementary holistic approaches to treatment, including mindfulness and wellness, such as yoga. Services offered provide dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), acceptance & commitment therapy (ACT), motivational interviewing, positive psychology, and person-centered approach to treatment through the creative arts therapy lens.

Do I need to be an artist/musician/dancer to participate?2023-11-30T11:40:06-05:00

You do not need any prior artistic or creative skills to participate in program, but openness to step out of your comfort zone will be helpful!

What equipment/tools will I be exposed to and be able to utilize in this program?2023-11-30T11:41:21-05:00

The site provides quality equipment for you to explore, such as a range of musical instruments, yoga/mindfulness resources and visual art materials such as markers, oil pastels, paint, print-making materials and air-dry sculpture.

What does the schedule look like?2023-11-30T11:43:08-05:00

The creative arts therapy program includes mindfulness, art and music within treatment daily. Other modalities offered during the week include holistic practices, yoga and dance/movement therapy. The PHP program runs from 9am until 1pm, Monday through Friday. The IOP program runs Monday through Thursday 6:00p – 8:15pm.

Why would this program give the most benefit by being in-person?2023-11-30T11:44:15-05:00

To experience the full impact of program, group members will benefit from attending in-person. Creating can be an excellent way to connect interpersonally, which is most encouraged when the group shares a physical space.

What skills might I learn from this program, and how would they be applied to life outside of treatment?2023-11-30T11:44:59-05:00

Group members will practice effective coping strategies, social skills and life skills inside and outside of programming that align with their individualized treatment goals. Due to the experiential nature of the arts, goals such as emotional self-expression, self-regulation and self-esteem can be practiced within a supportive therapeutic environment. Evidence-based practices such as mindfulness, meditation, EFT, acupressure, and self-administered body work techniques promote an enhanced state of well-being that can become part of regular self-care in recovery.

Available at these locations:

  • Lansdale, PA

  • Paoli, PA