Saturday, September 18, 2010

Creativity Heals

One of the things that I've noticed more than anything about being an art therapist is how creativity, allowing one's self to be creative, can open a person up to heal more than just about anything else I've ever seen.

Creativity is the essence of what is alive and exciting and flowing and rejuvenating about life. It allows us to tap in to possibilities, as apposed to shutting ourselves off from the world. It opens us up to what we may want or what needs to be expressed so we can let go of the negative and painful emotions/feelings we’ve held on to for so long. Those same negative feelings can burden us, making us feel guilt and anger, sadness and regret. All of these emotions cause a cascade of unhealthy chemicals that are released from our bodies that eat away at our mental and physical health, until we are literally dying.

Whether creativity helps us to get the negative emotions out, or whether it allows us to open up to more positive possibilities, it is healing. Allowing creativity to flow is key to recovering from life’s pumps and bruises, its traumas and disappointments.

Creativity can come in many different forms. You can, of course, use art to be creative. Art can be just about any form of expression using just about any medium, from painting, to sculpture, to ceramics, to interior design, to hair design, to designing clothes, etc. These possibilities are endless and can be a great deal of fun (another positive and important aspect of healing, allowing your self to have FUN!). Other aspects of creativity are in every day life. They can be in your cooking, raising children, smiling at people, balancing the requirements of life such as shopping and work. Creativity comes when we are looking at the possibilities rather than the impossibilities.

So, try it! Open up to being creative. Look for your options. What would you like to do that would be fun? What would make the situation fun? Or, at the very least, more relaxing? You are the one in control. We may not be able to control those around us or the world’s response to us, but we most certainly have control over our response to the world! Choose to be creative NOW, and then see what happens…

Point to this lesson: Work with the individual to get beyond the blocks that would keep her from being creative (i.e. open to solutions, rather than closed off). Work in small ways. Start with something simple. Then, use the analogies that arise (through symbology and metaphor) to open up the possibilities in her life.

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