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Combining the ETC and DCT in Therapeutic Treatment with a Depressed and Anxious Teen

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The Expressive Therapies Continuum (ETC) and Developmental Counseling and Therapy (DCT) are two methods of understanding cognitive and emotional styles of clients. Clarification of cognitive and emotional styles can foster positive relationships with clients, and promote transformation (Graves-Alcorn & Kagin, 2017; Ivey, Ivey, Myers, & Sweeney, 2005). The ETC is a theoretical framework composed of four continuum levels, representing the modes of interaction with media (Graves-Alcorn & Kagin, 2017; Kagin & Lusebrink, 1978). Three of the ETC levels reflect established systems of human development, including Kinesthetic/Sensory, Perceptual/Affective, and Cognitive/Symbolic. Clients can use various mind states and developmental sequences that correlate to art materials in order to work on trauma, depression, anxiety and a host of other disorders (Hinz, 2015). The level or continuum of the ETC is creativity, which is seen as a synthesizing agent (Kagin & Lusebrink, 1978). Like the ETC, the DCT offers four cognitive-emotional developmental styles, which are defined as Sensorimotor/Elemental, Concrete/Situational, Formal-Operational, and Dialectic/Systemic styles (Ivey, 2006; Ivey et al., 2005). 

Each of the four styles of DCT is a unique way of processing information. The therapist supports the client by matching her/his/their DCT style, and then helps the client expand her/his/their cognitive/emotional experience through horizontal movement in a particular style, or by facilitating challenge with vertical movement to a DCT style where there may be a block or underuse (Daniels, 1993; Ivey et al., 2005). A person can function in one style most of the time or in multiple styles. Both the ETC and DCT offer opportunities for growth and transformation based on increased insight of the individual. Additionally, both ETC and DCT allow the therapist to meet the client in the developmental mode that she/he/they are in, so that the necessary trust and relationship can be built to foster eventual client-directed transformation (Ivey et al., 2005). Researchers have found that the integration of DCT with creative strategies has been a promising approach to working with disorders such as trauma, depression, terminal illness, eating disorders, substance use problems, and anxiety disorders (Ivey et al., 2005; Myers, 1998). Combining talk therapy through the DCT with art therapy utilizing the ETC may foster holistic awareness and intentional action in clients suffering from anxiety and depression. Additionally, using ETC and DCT with children and adolescents who face some of the biggest transitions of development may offer a unique and holistic approach for youth who are facing developmental changes and mental health concerns (Crespi & Generali, 1995; Fernandez, Serrano, & Tongson, 2014; Myers, Shaffner, & Briggs, 2002). In this presentation 4 case studies will be presented using both approaches to decrease depression and anxiety, specifically in teens. Art work and therapeutic skills will be shown and highlighted.

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