BRAINsmART Therapy
for trauma and mental health

The story


The most exciting thing to witness in our clients is how creative self-expression – in a SAFE, non-judgemental environment – increases both self-acceptance and attunement to others - the foundation stones of a strong sense of self.
— Nancy Lubow PhD, LPC, MT-BC

Organizing Perception – the Four Modes
Traumatic events are stored as fragmented images, body sensations, emotions, and negative core beliefs. All of this fragmentation is scattered within the unconscious brain, ready to trigger a body reaction of ‘fight, flight, or freeze’ when confronted with unacknowledged or unresolved trauma. The Cross Modal Arts Strategies give a visual ‘form’ to the chaos and connects these images to a timeline or context of meaning. BRAINsmART uses the visual, musical, movement, and writing modes to explore the memories that build our ‘sense’ of Safety, and our ‘dialogue’ with Emotions, Loss, and the Future.

The BRAINsmART approach is grounded in the latest neuroscience research on trauma, creativity and the brain, which demonstrates that we must ‘go beyond the talking cure’ to heal damages to the body, mind, and emotions caused by traumatic events.

BRAINsmART Therapy is a Cross Modal Creative Arts Therapy – an image-based, problem-solving method to heal trauma through the reconnection of the mind to the body.

We offer clients ways to integrate and transform the way their body experiences overwhelming events through creative expression in the visual, musical, and movement arts. Once we can ‘See and NOT be’ the problem, we can integrate it into a meaningful part of our journey. The creative writing, expressive movement, and visualization that naturally emerges in this process allows the body, mind, and brain to work together – instead of against each other – to resolve trauma through communication.

Through the latest neuroscience research, we now know that experiencing creative self-expression produces an increase in the reward chemical dopamine and a positive  therapeutic shift within mind body and emotions. We know that the right brain disciplines, such as music, art, dance, meditation and visualization, all promote a syncrony and interaction with the left brains’ analytical and methodical problem-solving abilities. This shows that using both sides of the brain, creative and analytical, is needed to improve emotion regulation, increase distress tolerance, and improve problem-solving. We cannot do one without the other.

The BRAINsmART method was founded on the premise that the true purpose behind the expressive arts, throughout  the history of human culture, has been provide individuals with the inner and outer resources that develop physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual integration.

BRAINsmART taps into this body/brain marvel by giving our clients methods to develop the motivation and the courage required to acknowledge and accept new perspectives and new problem-solving modes that can resolve tough  issues. By participating in the creative process they engage new patterns of thinking, feeling, and interacting with the world. It is often an unexpected moment that occurs while creatively exploring this traumatic material that holds the important “ah-ha!” Insight in BRAINsmART therapy sessions.

The BRAINsmART therapeutic process helps clients gain a broader range of solutions to old problems and patterns by connecting with their intuitive non-verbal problem solving abilities. Enabling  a creative ‘cross-talk’ between the mind and body , we empower clients to See, Sense, and Speak about their problems differently. Giving them the power to break repetitive cycles of interpersonal and self-abuse, learned helplessness, addictive  emotions like guilt and shame, and redirecting the habits of unhealthy attachment styles and negative self-talk.

BRAINsmART’s cross-modal approach to therapy works by requiring clients to ‘think laterally’ using both sides of the brain, to conceptualize, visualize, and describe the change they want in their lives. All the stages of trauma recovery can benefit from  strategies taken from musical, visual, and movement-based intelligences. This multi-dimensional view of problems attains the most beneficial goal by shifting clients out of their less effective ways of perceiving themselves and others. The most exciting thing to witness in our clients is how creative self-expression, in a SAFE non-judgemental environment, increases both acceptance and compassion for self and others - the foundation stones of a healthy person who can face the challenges of a stressful world with resiliency and creativity.

Difference Between Art Therapy and Brainsmart Therapy

As a client, have you done traditional art, music, or dance therapy? Great! BRAINsmART builds on these expressive therapies using exercises that make a cognitive link to specific events and memories that have formed your behavior, emotions, thoughts and core beliefs in the present. Traditional adjunctive therapies tend to be activity /action without providing a clear cognitive link that gives us the strategies to change patterns in behavior, emotion, and thought.

 Nancy Lubow PhD, LPC, MT-BC

Nancy Lubow PhD, LPC, MT-BC


As an Arts-based, Brain-informed psychotherapist, Nancy Lubow, the founder of the BRAINsmART method, experienced first-hand the impact of the ‘arts in action’ with people struggling with anxiety, PTSD, and other debilitating disorders and how creativity could integrate the fragmentation of body, mind, and emotions caused by traumatic events and overwhelming stress. She found that the unique neural circuitry underlying the ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking of the creative mind activated both the verbal and image processing systems of the left and right brain, promoting a connection and a synchronicity between the hemispheres.

Through her interdisciplinary PhD research, specializing in the psychobiology of trauma and creativity, she researched the impact of both trauma and creativity on the neuro development of brain, mind, and body. Her doctoral research compared the neurobiology of the traumatized brain and the creative brain in order to develop interventions that integrate the fragmented brain, mind, and relationships of people exposed to adverse childhood events.

The BRAINsmART theory and exercises are the result of this work and what can be offered to clients who seek help in all areas of life.