Creative Arts Therapy

CREATIVITY AND HEALING

Creativity is the process of bringing something new into being. It brings to our awareness what was previously hidden and points to new life. The experience is one of heightened consciousness.

Rollo May, The Courage to Create

Most people have access to a  source of creativity within them, which is also the source of their personal healing process. When using creativity as a part of the healing process, people can build resilience by developing their intuition and the ability to wonder at life’s complexities and ambiguities. Experiences that might be otherwise hard to put into words can find expression, and by reflecting on the creative process people can develop clarity and insight into their unconscious thoughts and feelings, further deepen the understanding of their own process, and discover possibilities for making new choices and effecting change in their lives and relationships.

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If we know that the inevitable setbacks and frustrations are phases of the natural cycle of creative processes, if we know that our obstacles can become our ornaments, we can persevere and bring our desires to fruition. We can depend on the world being a perpetual surprise in perpetual motion. And a perpetual invitation to create.

Stephen Nachmanovitch, Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art

DRAMA AS THERAPY

Dramatherapy has as its main focus the intentional use of healing aspects of drama and theatre as the therapeutic process. It is a method of working and playing that uses action methods to facilitate creativity, imagination, learning, insight and growth. Dramatherapists are both artists and clinicians and draw on their training in theatre and therapy to create methods to engage clients in effecting psychological, emotional and social change. The therapy gives equal validity to body and mind within the dramatic context. 

British Association of Dramatherapists

Dramatherapy can be applied with both individuals and groups. It is accessible by all regardless of race, class, age, gender, ability, religion, body type, and does not require any previous experience or even interest in theatre and acting and does not even require that people see themselves as “creative”. Each person has a unique way of engaging, and my approach to the therapeutic relationship is that of a collaboration and co-creation, where I listen, support and challenge people to search for what feels as the the most suitable expressive medium, and eventually nurture their individual capacity for effecting change. A session might unfold through just talking, or by the use of movement and embodiment, voice,story, art materials or the creation of rituals.

The use of drama as a healing art can be traced back thousands of years. With the evolution of dramatherapy into a more systematic approach, the following models of intervention have been discerned, and are used according to the needs of each group or individual:

  • Creative – Expressive: The focus stays on clients’ healthy aspects and not their difficulties and challenges. By encouraging creativity, playfulness and and imagination people develop resilience and a more expansive sense of self.
  • Tasks and Skills: By focusing on practising and “rehearsing” actual life skills, people with difficulty in understanding their emotions and responding accordingly can acquire a wider vocabulary of ways to communicate and interact.
  • Psychotherapeutic: Using the therapeutic alliance developed between therapist and client and working through the transference that is experienced in the relationship, clients can focus on deeper issues and effect intra-psychic change.
  • Integrative: The focus is on the deepening healing properties of creativity, and clients can move freely between their real life experiences and the use of metaphor, to integrate all the different parts of themselves and live life more fully through making meaning out everyday experiences.

Dance, when you’re broken open. Dance, if you’ve torn the bandage off. Dance in the middle of the fighting. Dance in your blood. Dance when you’re perfectly free.

Jalal ad-Din Rumi