• Dan Workman

Therapy for Creatives, Part 10: Creative-Informed Therapy



So far, this series of essays has covered:


Narrative Therapy

The Risk and Reward of Creative Expression

Isolation

The Myth of the Broken Muse

‘So Why Am I Doing This?

Positive Distraction

Hacking Creativity

Sharpening the Saw

Depression and Low Motivation


While thinking about this month’s essay, I realized I had not addressed how the creative process works and how that process intersects with the therapy experience. Can creative talents be an asset in doing therapy? Let’s dig in!


Bold Premise #1

The creative process begins and ends with feelings.


Our thoughts & senses drive our emotions, emotions drive behaviors, and behavior leads to more thoughts. For the creative, inspiration for a new creation/solution/idea can come from any of these three states, but quickly that inspiration sparks the process of curating ideas, and gauging feelings evoked by thought. If an inspiration 'feels good enough,' it leads to creative behavior.


Bold Premise #2

The most essential step in the creative process is the assessment of feelings.


As we think about how to create something, ideas are sorted by an emotionally-driven process. “I could use this color, I could weld it this way, I could try that line of code.” While we fantasize about the next step, our emotions point us towards solutions until we get a 'bingo!' and action begins. Emotions add the indescribable ‘something’ that makes sense of swirling ideas.


Creative-Informed Therapy

Those who have the ‘creative drive’ as a core component of their identity have an advantage in therapy.


Most people come to therapy for one overarching reason: “Something is wrong, and I need help fixing it.” Psychotherapists use feelings to help define and navigate what that ‘something wrong’ is. Then feelings are used to gauge the success of the therapeutic process.


Creatives use these same skills in their process. The writer, painter, inventor, coder, and composer use their emotional compass to vector inspiration into tangible outcomes. Explaining the relationship between therapy and the creative process to a creative invariably quickens the therapeutic relationship and accelerates progress towards therapy goals. This is why creative-informed therapy may lead to better and quicker outcomes.


Image by Colin Behrens, from Pixabay


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