Unless you’re charmed, you’ve suffered some troubles in life. Perhaps you had a difficult childhood. Maybe you’ve lost someone very close to you. Or perhaps you’ve been mistreated. Whatever your circumstance, you can help yourself heal through creativity.
What Is Creative Therapy?
Creative therapy simply means that you use creativity as a form of therapy. According to Psychology Today, “Creative interventions have been formalized through the disciplines of art therapy, music therapy, dance/movement therapy, drama therapy or psychodrama, poetry therapy, and play therapy, including sandtray therapy.” Maybe that’s why I built a little Zen Garden in my back yard. It’s therapy.
The above photo isn’t my Zen Garden. Mine is much smaller. But the idea is the same. Raking the sand and placing and stacking stones wherever you choose is an art form. It’s also a form of meditation. It’s creative therapy.
You don’t have to be an artist, writer, or musician to practice creative therapy. Anyone can do it. Here are seven ideas to help you get started.
7 Simple Ways To Start Practicing Creative Therapy Today
- Doodle: You don’t have to be an artist to doodle. Sometimes when I’m feeling stuck, I just get out a blank piece of paper and start doodling. Sometimes that doodling turns into something more: a drawing, a schematic, a plan. I’m not an artist, but the point is to let the blank page be your therapist. Just randomly begin and see where it takes you. You’ll be releasing your emotions without notice.
- Write: You don’t have to write a book. You don’t have to write a poem. Just write. Again, the blank page is your therapist. If you’d like, you can directly address your problems and your feelings, or you might just write randomly. Either way, you’re taking a step toward healing.
- Paint: I’m not a painter, at least not as an artist. I do like to paint my walls and fences from time to time. Either way, painting can have therapeutical benefits. Painting has a meditative quality. You focus on color, texture, depth, and rhythm, among other things. We can also find contentment in simple tasks such as painting a fence. Healing is in the process, not the completed work.
- Color: Have you noticed the trend of adult coloring books? I haven’t jumped on the bandwagon, but I see the point. Coloring can help you relieve stress and gain focus. I do enjoy coloring, but I prefer to start with a blank page and create my own art. It may not be great, but it helps me to relax. That’s creative therapy.
- Whistle: I’ll admit. I’m a whistler. You don’t have to be a musician to whistle. I’ve discovered that whistling can relieve anxiety. Once, I had to walk two miles through New Orleans in the middle of the night. I didn’t have the money for a taxi, but had to get to my hotel. I discovered that whistling as I walked helped reduce the fear of being alone in a strange city. It was creative therapy in real time.
- Sing: According to Time, singing changes your brain. “When you sing, musical vibrations move through you, altering your physical and emotional landscape. Group singing, for those who have done it, is the most exhilarating and transformative of all.” Singing not only helps to release stress, it can also bring us closer together.
- Act: The Northern America Drama Therapy Association says,” Drama therapy is active and experiential. This approach can provide the context for participants to tell their stories, set goals and solve problems, express feelings, or achieve catharsis.” Acting can be a great way to relieve stress. And anybody can give it a try.
Art Therapy: A World Beyond Creative Expression
If you’d like to work out some of your own problems through creativity, I encourage you to try it today. Whether you choose to doodle, write, paint, color, whistle, sing, act, or participate in some other form of creativity, it’s easy to get started. It doesn’t take any equipment. It doesn’t require masses of people or loads of money. You just start.