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Connecting the Dots

Connecting the Dots

Written By Therapist Barbara Appleby RMBACP 

When I think of being creative, I have always thought that meant being good at art.  I’ve never been very good at drawing or making anything look good on paper, whatever the medium of choice.  

I wasn’t too bad with baking; my children had high expectations when asking for a homemade cake each birthday. From a Cinderella doll cake to Lush Bath Bombs, I made them all and they looked pretty good.  Didn’t taste too bad either. 

But being creative is so much more than art, or making cakes as the following quote suggests: 

‘The act of turning new and imaginative ideas into reality, creativity is characterised as the ability to make connections between seemingly unrelated phenomena and to generate solutions.’ 2021 

When I read that, it reminded me of what therapy is, turning ideas into reality, making connections between unrelated phenomena and generating solutions.  

Some people may experience the ‘phenomena’ of ‘light bulb moments’ in therapy, the process where all the dots are connected by the brain. Things start making sense and solutions are generated; their lived experiences and behaviours are normalised; they can attend to events from their past and integrate them into their now and future selves.  

I love to work creatively in the therapy space.  Encouraging my clients to express themselves using things like sand tray therapy, writing or drawing timelines amongst other things. 

I recently completed an art therapy course, hoping that it wouldn’t ask me to draw on my artistic ability, and it didn’t. In fact, they suggest that you don’t need to be an artist, that art therapy is about expression, and drilling down to the hard-to-reach places that we have successfully kept hidden. Through this type of intervention, therapists can help their clients interpret and understand their feelings and emotions through the art that they create.   

Art isn’t a new concept; it’s helped us to communicate with each other for thousands of years. More recently, research has shown that individuals experiencing mental illness, often expressed themselves through drawings and other forms of artwork. This led to health professionals exploring the use of art as a healing process.  

 I’ll end with this quote from blogger, Tanner Christensen

‘Being creative means solving a problem in a new way. It means changing your perspective. Being creative means taking risks and ignoring doubt and facing fears. It means breaking with routine and doing something different for the sake of doing something different; being creative means you are thinking’. 

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