How can creativity help the counselling process?





While writing is a key part of the work I do with clients, creativity in a wider sense also often plays an important part in the therapy process.


During my training as a practitioner of person-centred creative arts, I came across the work of Liesl Silverstone who was a pioneer of working creatively with clients. In my own personal and professional life, I have been amazed at times at what a seemingly simple image has revealed about my thoughts and feelings.


“...images like dreams tap into the world of spontaneous knowing, nothing to do with thoughts...an integration between the thinking and the knowing mode, between conscious and unconscious material”

(Liesl Silverstone)


Natalie Rogers referred to this way of working as 'expressive arts therapy' and believed:


“Expressive arts therapy ultimately unleashes the free-spirited and joyful aspects of self through learning on many levels: sensory, kinaesthetic, conceptual, emotional and mythic.”

(Natalie Rogers)


I am definitely no artist, but I was amazed in my training by what I could create - and discover about myself - when I was helped to access the right-hand side of the brain. For many people, me included, the left hemisphere of the brain tends to dominate. This is the part of the brain linked to language and logic, whereas the right hemisphere is linked to creativity.


In therapy, a creative approach can help achieve more of a balance between the two sides of the brain, leading to greater insights and understanding of ourselves and our lives.



Resources

Edwards, B. (1993). Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain: A course in enhancing creativity and artistic confidence. London: Souvenir Press.


Rogers, N. (1993). The Creative Connection: Expressive arts as healing. Palo Alto (CA): Science and Behaviour Books.


Silverstone, Liesl (1997). Art therapy the person-centered way: Art and the development of the person. London: Jessica Kingsley.



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