“You can’t use up creativity, creative thinking builds on itself and increases the creativity of the thinker… You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”
Welcome to summer! I began this three part series on creative expression by introducing you to some of the ways we at the Institute are incorporating creative expression into our summer workshop programs and hopefully enticed you to begin experimenting with creativity with your daughters. In Part 2, I would like to share some of my thoughts about how the use of our creative energy holds the power to heal our spirits and enliven our souls.
I have a feeling you are already familiar with the power of creativity, and may not recognize it as such. Do any of these situations sound familiar?
• You are feeling a little stressed lately and feel like you need to just “do something” so you purchase a few home accessories (maybe a lamp, some new prints, maybe a few throw pillows) and get working on re-vamping your living room. Once done, you feel invigorated, a little less stressed and more at home in your home.
• You’ve decided to put to use the digital camera you got over the holidays. You didn’t realize how joyful it would feel to catch your kids in a perfect playful moment at the beach. The photo has found itself alive on your desktop and every time you turn on your computer you are warmed by the memory of that afternoon.
• You allow yourself a few precious moments before falling asleep to write in your journal. In those moments you reflect on your day and recognize and process the wounding moments, and the flashes of joy that greeted you that day. You are aware as you doze off how this release allows you to sleep a little more peacefully and how the next day awaits with endless possibilities.
Creative, expressive moments are available in some of the smallest, most ordinary of ways. We just need to learn how to recognize them and be able to utilize the power this practice holds for each of us.
In my practice at the Institute, I am passionate about incorporating these ideas into the work that I do with you and your daughters. In recent years there has been a lot of research and buzz around the use of art in therapy. The results of which are too vast to even be introduced here. I will provide you with a few points, which I find especially exciting and important:
• Art provides a way for us to express ourselves when words just don’t cut it. Art helps us to not only say what we feel, but to experience it and a have a visual representation of that feeling or experience.
• Recent studies of the brain have revealed that traumatic experiences get stored in the right brain. But we primarily use our left brain when we communicate using logical thinking and verbal skills. Creative expression provides the bridge we need to access the right brain and the emotions stored there.
• Engaging in creative expression can help to develop self-confidence and self-esteem; to build connection with others; to heal and invigorate the soul; to release stress and manage anxiety; and perhaps most importantly provides a space and place to let loose and have some fun.
I hope this summer you will be inspired to engage in your own creative expression and to encourage that in your daughters as well. And, you don’t necessarily need a plan. Perhaps you and your daughter set aside some “creative” time and the only rule is that you are together. You gather up all your art supplies (crayons, pencils, paper, paints, glitter, stickers, etc… whatever you have lying around!) and just play creatively for an hour. Afterwards share your creations with each other and talk about what it was like. Maybe it will provide an opportunity for you and your daughter to connect, communicate and share a joyful experience together.
Portions of this article were inspired by:
“The Healing Canvas” by Jenny Hontz (March 20, 2006, LA Times)
Art Therapy Sourcebook and Handbook of Art Therapy by Cathy A. Malchiodi, M.A., A.T.R, L.P.A.T., L.P.C.C
Please note: Nothing in what you find here should be construed as medical advice pertinent to any individual. As is true with all written materials, and especially information found on the internet, you must be the judge of what appears valid and useful for yourself. Please take up any questions you might have regarding the content of this website with your psychotherapist or physician.