Creativity

I’ve been thinking about creativity a lot lately, what it means, and what it really means to live a creative life.  Put simply: to be creative is to create something.

I believe that being creative is central to the human experience. We are all creative, we just don’t always recognise this in ourselves. We create things everyday – meals, solutions, works of art – things that are sublime and things that are mundane. I believe creativity is an inherent potentiality in each of us, something to nurture and not crush. We need to treat it sensitively and honour all the products of our creative endeavours, acknowledging their place in our lives. Recently I wrote about the art of doodling and how this simple act of creation helps me to relax.  Doodling is not high art but it is an act of creativity and it is one that keeps me feeling grounded when I am becoming tense about everything I’ve got going on in my life.

Another avenue I find really helpful personally is writing in my journal, whether that is half an hour blurting on to the page everything that is running through my busy mind, or writing a poem or story, grasping to understand an idea or a feeling I’m finding it difficult to deal with.

When I had a number of friends and family die over a short period of time I found myself increasingly writing about grief and loss.  I did this mainly through poetry, in an unconscious way, these ideas just slipped in to my writing.  Reading back my poems afterwards, I saw that the feelings I had found so difficult to talk about in conversation with others, were easily expressed in the safety and privacy of my journal pages. It was really helpful to have this outlet as I struggled to both grieve and live my everyday life at the same time.

As someone who believes in the power of Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes (CWTP), I believe that working with the creative self in this way is as much about working with people who don’t necessarily think of themselves that way, helping them to make a link with their already creative self, and become more flexible and open to options in the process.

I believe that if we can tap into it, our creativity can help us heal and live a fuller life. There is definitely evidence that writing can help us to achieve both physical and mental health – that is the well-being of the whole person, body and mind. I have been particularly fascinated by Pennebaker’s writing experiments in Opening Up (1990) and found his personal journey exploring scientifically the therapeutic benefits an extremely engaging read. Through these experiments, he and his co-researchers found there was a relationship between writing and health.

Phone 2014and2015 522

Reference List

 

Pennebaker, J. (1990) Opening Up. New York: The Guildford Press

Rogers, C. (1961/1967) On Becoming A Person. London: Constable

Doodling

doodle.jpgLately I’ve returned to an old past-time: doodling.  It’s something I did a lot as a child and a young adult but I never knew back then that this absentminded past-time was actually good for me.

What is doodling?  It’s a simple drawing, often created whilst our mind is elsewhere. A doodle can be something concrete e.g. flowers, faces, a cartoon of your teacher or a sketch of your cat; or they can be just random and abstract lines and shapes; or a combination of the two. The classic example of a doodle is one done down the margin of your school book or on the back of a till receipt.  I certainly spent hours doing that kind of doodle at school and in my diary as a teenager.

I’ve started doodling again as a way of taking a break from my studies (I’m in the throes of an MSc in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes).  I put a timer on for 25 minutes and study, then when I’ve completed that I let myself have a five minute break where I just doodle.  I let my mind and my pen wander, sometimes I’m purposeful and sometimes I just see what happens when I move the pen around, often I combine the two approaches. I find doing this gives me a break from my studies, or whatever else is on my mind, and it helps me recover my energy to get back to the next 25 minute block I need to attend to.  It helps calm me, it helps focus me and it gets my creativity going.  I often come back from this break with a different idea or angle that I might not otherwise have had.

Everyone needs to find ways to calm down, relax or focus.  What kinds of things help you relax? Why not try a doodle…?

 

The power of your words written now

I have a particular interest in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes (CWTP) which broadly defined means using expressive, reflective and autobiographical fiction writing as a way to gain insights about our relationships with ourselves and others, explore life transitions and to access, process and express our feelings.

On a recent trip to Avebury stone circles, a place I had never been before, I was really struck by the juxtaposition of man and nature in this sacred space – the wild power of both the landscape itself and the raw materials man has used to leave his mark on it.  We don’t know what it all means, why it was built here or what it was used for and yet as I walked there I felt it resonating in me, as if it had a physical way of speaking to me down all the thousands of years it has stood here, connecting with something deep inside of me that perhaps I find (nearly) impossible to express.

IMG_2217On coming home from that trip, I felt this strong sense of CWTP acting in a similar way – the idea of feelings and experiences being raw and elemental forces acting on and within us and words both bearing witness to that but also having the potential to shape and change those feelings and experiences.  It inspired me to write this poem in which I’m connecting the two:

truth

like earth and wood and fire

these are your words written now

no one to say it didn’t happen that way or at all

your words tumbling out of the earth

like forces of nature

fierce streams forming the land

carving valleys from the swampy lowlands

where you walk unafraid

your words a staff to lean on

your experiences raw elemental magic

that you draw on as you face the unknown

these words are your words written now

standing stones in sacred spaces

witnesses

If this sounds like a way of working that you’re interested in and you would like to know more about how therapeutic writing could be used within an individual counselling session, please contact me on 07875 403 188.

 

I love Autumn, its a time of change and reflection

Avebury Autumn TreeI love Autumn, it’s a beautiful time of year. And its a time when I find myself turning inward and reflecting on things more as the days and nights begin to get colder. I’ve been particularly aware of the changes going on around me this month, which is made physically manifest as the leaves begin to change colour and fall in the natural world outside. The seasons move on and we cannot change that but we can decide how we want to be with that change.

How are you feeling about Autumn and the season’s change? Perhaps you too are reflecting in a similar way or experiencing change in yourself and the world around you – new life transitions, significant changes in personal or work relationships, old traumas resurfacing, or symptoms of depression or anxiety suddenly presenting obstacles in the way you cope with day to day life?

Maybe you are even considering trying something new and engaging in therapy. This can be a difficult decision, even scary, but perhaps it is a change you feel you are ready to make. Counselling can be a way of coping with some of the feelings that can go along with life change, a way of processing heavy issues and opening up new awarenesses, a way of deciding how we want to be as we go forward.

 

New fee structure

I have recently updated my fees,  effective from June 2018. My fees are:

Initial 30 minute consultation free of charge

£40 for 50 minute counselling or therapeutic writing session
£200 for 6 sessions – discount for paying for the sessions up front
£60 for 50 minute hypnotherapy session

I am also able to occasionally offer discounts for people on benefits. Please contact me directly if you want to know more about this please contact me directly on keylifetherapy@gmail.com or 07875403188

Setting up

This is my new website for my new business, its the beginning of something new, and it feels exactly like I’m balancing on the edge of a precipice.  Maybe that is a precipice overlooking somewhere beautiful, maybe I have been building towards this for a long time, but it still feels scary-exciting.

So bear with me while I build my website. Things might look kind of funny on here for a while. I’ve been training as a counsellor, not a website designer!

Placeholder Image