Creative therapeutic approaches
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Tanya Nielson Counsellor/Psychotherapist (Snr Accred) Qualified Supervisor
11th September, 20150 Comments
The use of creative therapeutic approaches in therapy can help clients to tap into their visual, auditory and experiential way of communicating. Through the use of creative tools such as sand tray, art materials, active imagination, therapeutic stories or role play, a therapist enables a client to ’step outside’ their problems and work with a metaphor or visual image. It can help individuals understand current and past issues, develop an alternative perspective, exploration and expression of emotions that might otherwise be difficult to articulate.
The use of creativity in therapy can also help us to work with the imagination to break out of unhelpful patterns of behavior to gain new solutions for the issues that are causing a client distress. Clients can sometimes feel safer to practise new ways of interaction through creative methods in a way that moves us beyond words.
I particularly enjoy the use of sand tray therapy for adults and children. It encourages clients to use symbols and miniature animals/objects. The symbolic meaning of the sand tray picture or world can then be explored through the representation, arrangement and relationship to each other whilst placed or manoeuvred in the sand.
Client and therapist can then process the sand tray in a number of different ways such as using solution focused questions or engaging with a dialogue with the figures placed in the sand, helping individuals to gain mastery over past and present events.
Sand tray is also a valuable supervision tool when thinking about hopes for supervision, the therapist experience of the client, countertransference and transference issues etc.
About the author
I am trained and experienced in a variety of therapeutic models including: solution focused practice, CBT, EMDR, psychodynamic, attachment, narrative, solution focused, systemic theories, sand tray, play therapy, journaling, poetry and art work. I work with adults, children, young people and families and work transculturally.
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