Case Study 2


















Bassendean Office: 11 Kenny Street Bassendean

Fees: Private & funded: NDIS clients only

What is expressive therapy?

Expressive therapy is the term used to describe the personal expression of one`s thoughts, emotions and experiences through art, sand tray, music and drama therapy. NO EXPEREINCE OR SKILL IS REQUIRED.


Case Study: Sammy

Adult diagnosed with Post -Traumatic Stress Disorder

Age: 50

Issues: Sammy was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder many years ago, for a long time she had been working with psychologists to understand her mental health symptoms. However, felt she had gained little from therapy and still felt confused about her triggers of PTSD and therefore wanted to try expressive therapy with an experienced psychotherapist.


Sand tray therapy, art therapy, narrative therapy (traditional counselling) and music therapy


With the support of the therapist Sammy created a song which discussed her symptoms of PTSD. Together the therapist and client learnt about her trauma triggers and symptoms of hyperarousal and anxiety. Sessions progressed at Sammy`s pace, some days she did not feel like she was able to contribute much to the sessions. For this reason, she engaged in passive music listening experiences which helped her to self soothe. Sammy learnt to explore different music which helped her to relax and express her experience PTSD. When Sammy was ready, she created a sand tray and was supported by her therapist to explore the trauma meanings and trauma triggers related to her experience of trauma. Whilst Sammy had no prior experience with music or sand tray therapy, she found it easy to engage in the activities and was relieved to learn that she was not required to articulate her traumatic experience. As therapy progressed Sammy found that it was cathartic for her to play the percussion instruments in a way that expressed her experience of anxiety and feeling out of control, key features of her diagnosis of PTSD.


On completion of therapy Sammy better understood her diagnosis of PTSD. Furthermore, she had learnt strategies for the first time which enabled her to self soothe when she was hyper aroused or anxious. Sammy was amazed to learn so much about her trauma. By sharing her experience with another person through expressive therapy for the first time she was able to connect with her trauma experience and fully understand her diagnosis of PTSD.