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Digital Seminar

Expressive Arts to Build Safety and Connection with Your Most Vulnerable Clients

Dana Wyss, PhD, LMFT, ATR-BC, RPT
1 Hour 30 Minutes
Audio and Video
May 06, 2021
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Digital Seminar
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Trauma and division are everywhere around us, which has further isolated children and adolescents and exacerbated many of our mental health concerns. Along with increases in overall rates of depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation, many human rights organizations estimate that rates of human trafficking cases have risen by 185% in the midst of the Covid pandemic.

This is a hard population to reach as they are stuck in survival mode and continuously being retraumatized.

We may struggle to see this impact—as we are all in a collective state of overwhelm—leading us to misinterpret the trauma responses and behaviours of our clients and ourselves.

Join Dana Wyss, PhD, ATR-BC, as she shows you how expressive arts can act as a bridge between us and these clients, and how we uniquely address social and emotional needs for ourselves and our clients.


- PESI Australia, in collaboration with PESI in the USA, offers quality online continuing professional development events from the leaders in the field at a standard recognized by professional associations including psychology, social work, occupational therapy, alcohol and drug professionals, counselling and psychotherapy. On completion of the training, a Professional Development Certificate is issued after the individual has answered and submitted a quiz and course evaluation. This online program is worth 1.5 hours CPD for points calculation by your association.



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Star View Adolescent Center

Dana Wyss, PhD, LMFT, ATR-BC, RPT, is a board-certified art therapist, a registered play therapist, a marriage and family therapist, holds a doctorate in expressive therapies, and is the coauthor of The Invisible String Workbook. Her doctorate in expressive therapies has led her to create programs integrating art, music, poetry, dance, and animal assisted therapy in the healing process for clients and self-care of staff. For the last 25 years, Dr. Wyss has worked in psychiatric hospitals, group homes, and nonpublic school settings to manage crisis, conduct training, coach staff, and support children and families. Dr. Wyss is a corporate clinical training specialist and clinical/art therapy supervisor at Stars Behavioral Health Group, a company specializing in the treatment of complex developmental trauma. She also owns a small private practice where she specializes in the use of art and play for all ages. Dr. Wyss is a national trainer and consultant with the Center for Trauma Training and national trainer to raise awareness of commercial sexual exploitation of children. She uses her creativity for her own healing as well as to support others.


Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Dana Wyss has employment relationships with Stars Behavioral Health Group, Center for Trauma Training, and Loyola Marymount University. She receives royalties as a published author. She is an exam writer at ATCB and reviewer for both ATCB and Accreditation Council for Art Therapy Education and Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. Dana Wyss receives a speaking honorarium and recording royalties from PESI, Inc. She has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Dana Wyss is a member of American Art Therapy Association and Association for Play Therapy.


  1. Determine four ways that expressive arts assist with the healing process.
  2. Distinguish between the scope of practice of talk therapy vs expressive arts.
  3. Design a treatment plan to include expressive arts in either their personal work with clients or as a treatment team with adjunct professionals.
  4. Demonstrate how to incorporate Maslow’s hierarchy of needs into your assessment and therapy practice in a creative way.


Expressive Arts with Commercially, Sexually, Exploited Youth

  • Video case study
  • A visual experience of art to support healing for youth who have been commercially sexually exploited
  • Understand the use of expressive arts vs being an expressive arts therapist

Why the Arts Work

  • Discussion on how the creative process allows for a deeper level of knowledge and understanding of self
  • Assess physiological needs and safety in a non-intrusive way
  • Helps to avoid or heal attachment ruptures and support belonging and love
  • Builds Confidence and Self Esteem

Take Away Activity 

  • Maslow’s Hierarchy (allows for psychoeducation, creativity)
  • Profound, powerful tool to support needs instead of assuming need
  • Resources shared

Target Audience

  • Counselors
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Social Workers
  • Psychologists
  • Therapists
  • Addiction Counselors
  • Marriage and Family Therapists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Other Professionals Who Work within the Mental Health Fields

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