Meet Julie Collura, a 2022 graduate of our Certificate Training Program.
We are excited to feature her as our monthly Alumni Spotlight!
We think you will be inspired by the blend of skills and practices Julie brings to her life and work as an Expressive Arts
Julie Collura, MM, MSW, LCSW, REAT, is a social worker, musician, and expressive arts therapist. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in Oregon and Louisiana, and Registered Expressive Arts Therapist (REAT). Julie has a Master of Social Work from the Tulane University School of Social Work, a Master of Music from the University of South Florida, and a Certificate in Intermodal Expressive Arts
from Expressive Arts Florida Institute. She completed Internal Family Systems (IFS) Level 1 training through the IFS Institute, and Level 1 movement-based expressive arts therapy training with the Tamalpa Institute. She is a classically trained clarinetist and a jazz vocalist.
Map from EAFI 220: Expressive Arts in the World
drew you to the field of Expressive Arts, or motivated you to get Expressive Arts training?
My introduction to the world of expressive arts was a course in creative facilitation
through Partners for Youth Empowerment in 2015. I finally began to learn the language for what I had always known to be true. When we use our creative power, we transform ourselves and our world. I began to see myself as a social artist. After fifteen years as an orchestra librarian and years of volunteering in social services, I decided to change careers and earn a Master of Social Work. My intention was always to integrate my music and creative arts background with my social work practice, but
as a student intern and new social worker, I struggled with how to do that. When I discovered intermodal expressive arts, the path to integration became more clear.
Tamalpa self-portrait performance
As you began to immerse yourself in this work, were there any unexpected gifts or surprises?
One of my biggest breakthroughs was learning to let go and trust my process. Because of my extensive classical music background, my vocal inner critic, and my lack of training and technique in visual art, I struggled with my relationship with my images. I felt envious of the images of my peers and wrestled with the desire to make “good” art. Engaging with the expressive arts, I learned to sit
with the discomfort and the resistance, and to work through and with it. I discovered that when I move my body before making visual art, the images flow more freely and my creativity is less inhibited. My relationship with my creativity and my art continues to evolve. Because of my personal journey, I understand how it feels to struggle to express authentically. I believe the struggle, the ability to sit with and work through resistance, helps me to be present and compassionate with my clients,
and to create the container for them to do their own work.
How are you currently implementing expressive arts in your personal and/or professional life?
My personal practice is movement-based. I move and dance daily, and
often follow with visual art or writing. When I move, I am more aware of my inner system and can connect with my internal parts. In my therapy practice, I integrate EXA with IFS to help my clients process feelings and experiences, reduce inner conflict, and improve relationships. I have observed how the expressive arts can help clients connect with their parts through visual image, and to allow their parts to express through movement and sound.
What are your goals in this work, and how do you envision your involvement with Expressive Arts unfolding in the
I will continue to provide embodied expressive arts therapy through Creative Change Works, LLC. I also offer expressive arts workshops to arts organizations and to
agencies serving survivors of trauma. I am developing a collaborative group experience integrating Internal Family Systems (IFS) and parts work with expressive arts to allow people to dance, sing, draw and write from, and dialogue with, their parts.
How has Expressive Arts enriched or expanded your career path?
Expressive arts expanded my toolbox. When I work with clients individually or in groups, I have so many
more tools to offer to facilitate growth and healing. It is a beautiful honor to witness a client accept my invitation and then create their own process.
What is your current personal practice and how does it enrich your life?
I've always been a musician. Expressive arts introduced me to other modes of expression and allows me to be more deeply connected to my creativity. Whether
moving, singing, drawing, writing, or simply checking in with my breath, I do something creative everyday.
What do you wish you could tell the world about Expressive Arts?
I believe everyone is innately creative, and that each person has within them what they need to heal and change. Expressive Arts provide a pathway for internal and external connection. Plus, play is so necessary!
What are you currently offering, and what are the ways that people can work with you?
I provide therapy in-person and via Telehealth in Oregon, and via Telehealth in Louisiana. I also provide group workshops integrating Expressive Arts with Internal Family Systems. I'm always open to collaborating with other practitioners.
"Creating a Love Map" workshop
Anything else you would like to say?
I'm grateful to Expressive Arts Florida Institute for providing me
with a foundation in expressive arts. The connections I made in the program continue to feed me professionally and personally. If you are curious about expressive arts, try a workshop or an open studio. I promise you will feel welcome, and it may even change your life.
links - Learn more about Julie
Watch for our Alumni Spotlight on the 1st of each month. We feature graduates of our Certificate Training Program - Expressive Arts Facilitators, Therapists, and Educators. We hope this series will inspire you, help spread the
work of our alumni, and demonstrate the scope of practice of the expressive arts field.
Visit the Alumni Directory on our website, to meet more of our graduates, and see the links to all the monthly Alumni Spotlights.
For more information about our Certificate Training Program, Professional Development, and Workshops - both online and in-person, visit us at www.expressiveartsflorida.com
Tamara Teeter Knapp
MA, NCC, MHC Intern, REACE®
MA, LMHC(S), REACE®, REAT®