Alongside traditional “talk therapy,” I often use creative approaches with clients in therapy. Honoring client’s choice is fundamental to my approach. However, different things work for different people. And, I am all about adapting the approach to the client’s needs.
So, what does it mean to get creative in therapy?
“Creative” is actually a broad term and not solely focused on the arts. In many ways, the therapy process itself is a collaborative, creative process to create change. With this in mind, the process of therapy will generally have creativity at it the heart of change. Even if we never pick up any art supplies in therapy.
An example of a creative approach could be creating mixed media projects to narrate a life story. We could use a creative approach to honor a lost loved one or show love to a difficult part of oneself. Additionally, creative approaches can help contain tough feelings, or remind us of our strengths.
However, working creatively in therapy can also include less artsy approaches. Like, going to a garden together to practice meditation, or utilizing guided visualizations. Painting our nails in therapy to practice self-care could also be seen as a creative approach.
Of course, it can also be as simple as using color to express emotions. Or, even, bringing your journal to therapy when it get’s hard to “figure out what to say.”read more
Music. Oh, music.
Being a native from the Live Music Capital of the World – music is and always will be integrated into my life.
Music can give words and sounds to accurately describe any feeling state. It’s an art form that can validate and move you through various thoughts, feelings or life experiences. I find it amazing that it’s even possible to tell a story so creatively that it would be a full body experience. And, often, the stories of the music makers themselves are just as remarkable.
When trying to find the words to talk about music in this blog post, I connected with friends on Facebook to ask:
How has music affected you?
I was in awe of the responses…read more
Dressing up, putting on makeup, adornment and the like, can feel like a cage for some people. And, choosing not to wear makeup or be adorned or fashionable is beautifully powerful.
For others, beauty (for the lack of a better term) is an incredible source of self-care and empowerment.
Viewing ourselves as a blank canvas provides limitless opportunities for some. Being creative with makeup, fashion or jewelry can be a way that we set our intention every day. Therefore, the process of beautification becomes a way of choosing and manifesting who you want to be.
For example, say you are feeling edgy and creative — you opt for wildly colorful eye makeup. At another time, you go for a professional front with a neutral palette with a touch of color on your lips and cheeks. Or when you’re feeling hot you use fashion to lean into and explore yourself as a sexual being. Consequently, war paint can be a superbly adaptive tool.read more
Many of us have had to walk away from toxic relationships. Relationships where the other person put us down on a regular basis.
When we stand up for ourselves, these people may accuse us of being “arrogant” or “cocky” to maintain power over us.
These words can stick with us in painful ways. One permeating challenge is difficulty with confidence. We may feel arrogant instead of confident in moments of awesomeness.
Yet confidence is often cited as the way out of these toxic dynamics. This can feel like a total catch-22. When we can’t seem to find a way to feel confident we may end up thinking that the other person was right.read more
While the physical traumas can be scary as hell, the emotional traumas can take a lot more work to heal. When I work with domestic violence survivors certain themes come up over and over again.
What’s wrong with me?
Why did they hurt me?
Why do I still love them?
For starters, there’s nothing wrong with you. People from every kind of background – poor, rich, privileged and marginalized – go through this. People from healthy families can fall into a relationship like this as well. It crosses all these barriers. In the end, though, it’s more of a reflection of something about them than you.read more
It’s the worst feeling.
You’re at work or school and trying to make friends. Your colleagues are sharing about whatever silly thing happened at camp when they were kids. Or, perhaps it’s some heartwarming story about that time their mom saved the day on the class field trip. They’re jovial. Engaged with one another. They can relate to one another.
Your mind is a total blank.
Their stories remind you of your own stories. Sure. But your’s don’t feel PG enough to tell in this context.
You may feel that your stories aren’t “appropriate water cooler talk.”read more
Last week, Chisomo, of Called Out Living, reached out to me with a question on Instagram. Chisomo is a creative mum, from the UK, who designs home and office products to inspire others to “live their purpose using their passions.” She wanted to know:
“What’s your advice to ladies who struggle with imposter syndrome? Feeling like they are pretending in their jobs, careers or businesses? Thanks”
This is a brilliant question and something I see often in practice.
Imposter syndrome is a funny animal because it happens to people who tend to be high achievers. The other ironic thing about it is that it can also drive success by challenging us to do better. Yet, when it chips away at our self-worth we can feel paralyzed and be unable to work toward our goals. When this happens, the insecure or self-critical part of ourselves can get quite loud.
Thus, our dance is actually in using imposter syndrome to challenge ourselves to do productive, high-quality work. While, at the same time, not letting imposter syndrome drive down our self-worth.read more