Judith Greer Essex, Ph.D. MFT, REAT, ADTR Founding Director.
Trained as a dancer, Judith is a licensed Marriage Family Therapist, a Registered Expressive Arts Therapist and Academy of Dance Therapists Registered practitioner. She is a pioneer in the art-based therapy movement, respected as an expert in the role of the body and expression in psychological integration. She created dance therapy and expressive arts therapy programs for many clinics, hospitals, and health care venues in the San area. She has taught movement, dance and psychology at SDSU, UIS, UCSD and Alliant University, and movement for actors at the San Diego Repertory Theater Conservatory. She is also a Professor at the European Graduate School for Expressive Arts Therapy in Saas Fe, Switzerland.
Judith earned her BFA in Dance and Theater from BYU, MA in dance movement from UCLA, and her MAC (with honors) through National University. In 2009 she completed her Ph.D.(magna cum laude) in Expressive Arts Therapy at the European Graduate School. She has served as a member of the Board of Directors of IEATA and has presented her work at numerous professional conferences.
Interested in Therapy or professional supervision (group or individual) or consulting with Dr. Essex?
Tara Graviss White - Administrator
Tara is an Institute Alumna and completed her studies at The European Graduate School. She has a private practice specializing in sexual trauma recovery focused on supporting artists, educators, wellnessness practitioners and community leaders. As a visual artist she is a prolific photographer and works with mixed media encaustics. Tara is an experienced administrator, leader and director in business and arts education. We are fortunate to benefit from her wisdom on our team.
Associates and Visiting Fellows
Poet Laureate of EGS, and co-founder of the expressive arts movement. Elizabeth is senior lecturer in the graduate faculty of Lesley University’s Arts in Learning program. She has performed in Canada, Germany, Italy, Israel, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States. She has many times been artist-in-residence at EGS and has published four books of poetry as well as a teacher’s manual for teaching poetry to children. She is a recognized expert in the oral tradition.
"As a lifelong learner and dedicated volunteer involved in arts and education I approached the E.A.I. introductory class with curiosity and some trepidation. A few prior E.A.I. graduates were in my circle and I highly admired them all, but didn’t really imagine taking on such a large commitment or inspiring to make such a shift in my career path or life direction. I was awestruck by the end of the weekend. Having never so clearly before been exactly where I should be. My overwhelming feeling was “this is who I am, this is what I do.” I haven’t looked back and am on the most fantastic journey of my life."
"When I attended the Intro Course, I said to myself, “this is what I have been looking for… for so long.” Before the weekend was over, I was already planning the next two years and what I would do to be in this beautiful place. So, yes! Of course the introductory course changed my life, without a doubt! It was the beginning of another era, another way of feeling and seeing the world around and inside me."
Judith is the most gifted facilitator I have ever encountered. Her complete embodiment and use of the arts in healing brings amazing results. A whole new world opened up to me after being guided by her expertise and heart-warming sensitivity to the human condition. Whether she is hired as a private therapist, speaker, or teacher, I believe she is worth more than money could ever buy.”
“Dr. Judith Greer Essex, director of the Expressive Arts Institute, provides an exemplary education for those seeking a healing profession through the arts. Her knowledge of the philosophy and practice of expressive arts is articulated with intelligence, compassion, and delightful humor. As a student, I was encouraged and supported throughout the program with great insight and honesty. Dr. Essex is truly a wise woman who knows how the arts can help us find our way. I fully recommend Dr. Essex and the Expressive Arts Institute for education and training in expressive arts.”
“I have known Judith, who I call Greer, for over 35 years. We met when we worked together at the first domestic violence shelter in San Diego. Without at doubt, she is one of the smartest women I know, and she is my go-to person whenever I need insightful, wise advice. Greer has built her school and career from the ground up with dedication to cutting edge creativity and academic grounding. You will benefit greatly from working with her, I guarantee it.”
“You have prepared us so well, thank you. All the vocabulary for us makes total sense- some folks have not a clue what the professors are saying. We do 🙂 Thank you, thank you. This experience has been exciting, motivating and extraordinary so far. And it’s really only just begun. I wanted to send my thanks to our Momma EXA bear ♥”
Jose Roberto Nascimento
“Greer is a raw driving force beneath and within. The depth of her blue eyes, and the magnetic smile, is a pure invitation to try…, experiment…, or just to stay still. I always enjoyed when the existence connects us. It is an experience to take with me anywhere I might go.”
"Oh, how marvelous to be led in creative expression — especially when technology and its offspring run amuck around us, especially when Judith is role modeling, teaching, leading, gamboling with Light and Love."
"Dr. Essex is a professor and mentor I’m fortunate to have. Her expertise in facilitating a learning environment that allows experience, open-ended growth of trust and competency on both the individual and group levels is uniform. She has taught me to stretch the boundary of current ideas and relations in the modern world, encouraged individual creativity and thought."