There are many types of creative therapies: dance therapy, art therapy, drama therapy and more- this post does not summarize these approaches- rather it describes the uses of the creative process that research (including my own) has shown is important and effective in mental wellness and healing.
I have said this before- and I will say it more!- creative people need to create. It is your most powerful tool in life, and your most valuable asset in staying well. Creativity in therapy asks you to explore your own experience of things including your feelings, thoughts and imagination. The focus is on making and expressing what comes from inside you, rather than perfect depictions of what you can already see. Your creative process becomes a healing experience when used therapeutically.
Drawing, painting, dancing, writing and other art forms are powerful ways to communicate. They have been used to record human history, ideas, feelings, and dreams. They show a wide range of emotions from joy to sorrow, triumph to trauma. Creative arts have served as a way of understanding, making sense, and clarifying inner experiences without words. Used therapeutically, these are activities to soothe you, release stress and tension, give enjoyment and rise above troubling feelings.The process of creating may help you express fear, anxiety and other stressful emotions. It touches the soul or spirit. While family, work and other parts of life may fulfill you, creative experiences can help you express or understand parts of yourself that other activities and interactions cannot. Creative people usually feel better and happier about themselves and their lives during and after being creative. Creating helps you be more flexible in problem solving and makes you more insightful and true to yourself. Creating and communicating in a meaningful way are necessary for psychological, physical and spiritual health.
A common worry about creativity as therapy is that you are not creating something that is good enough. You may worry that if you don’t create a product up to your usual standards, creative therapy won’t work and you have somehow failed. The purpose of creativity in therapy is not to make great art: it is to experience the process of creating. This is likely a shift in how you conceptualize your creative experiences, and an important distinction. Remember, creative artist, that when you are creating therapeutically it is the journey and not the destination that is important.
There are many more words of wisdom on this topic- creative therapy ideas and exercises, creative personalities, creatives and mental wellness- more on these to come! Subscribe to the Creatively newsletter on the home page, and never miss a thing.
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is a Creativity Coach, Creativity Counselor and Professional Artist in Sykesville, Maryland. She provides Online Creativity Counseling in Maryland and Virginia, and Online Creativity Coaching throughout the USA, Canada and the UK.
The information provided in this blog is from my own clinical experiences and training. It is intended to supplement your clinical care. Never make major life changes before consulting with your treatment team. If you are unsure of your safety or wellbeing, do not hesitate to get help immediately.