Creative Psychotherapy

All psychotherapies are more or less creative insomuch as they offer clients opportunities to become more aware of self defeating patterns, find new ways to cope, discover a greater sense of self worth, develop hope, confidence and new meaning in their lives. The Arts Therapies harness creative activities to promote healing and growth. Being creative enables people who have had damaging and destructive experiences to recreate themselves. Using art, music, drama, dance-movement, poetry and play, creative therapists encourage people to discover their own creativity, empowering them to heal themselves: as Anne Bannister said, “Creativity is the immune system of the psyche”. Being creative, making something, whether a pattern, picture, story, sound, movement or poem shows the client that they are not powerless in the face of their often abusive and damaging environment but can, here and now, express, explore and make new forms, expanding their sense of self. Rather than being regressive and endlessly returning to the past in an attempt to master it (yes, some such activity is useful) creative therapies enable people to be empowered in the here and now and move towards a different future. The self expands through creative play, discovering new roles, new capacities and so emerges from the narrow, disabling confines of past experiences. Creativity opens up mental and emotional space. Many clients come to therapy with self defeating patterns of behaviour resulting in them literally destroying themselves through negativity and damaging behaviours. These may be learned patterns or angry actions directed against the self. Such energy can be turned round to serve the person’s growth. Playful activity creates a distance from disabling patterns to enable the person to see things from a new perspective and change.
For example a client might be offered a large piece of red paper and invited to destroy it, to crumple, twist and tear it until the resultant shape can be placed on the floor like a work of modern art. The client and therapist can then stand back and view the resultant sculpture and give it a title: The Dragon, The Broken One or Fire. This form might then be embodied as a dance-movement, a story told, a poem written, a sound made: the form being expanded as the client discovers meaning. Many clients do not believe they can be creative. Such negativity and despair disempowers them. Creative therapists find strategies to enable clients to become playful. Often clients’ ability to play was frozen in childhood by abuse, neglect or damaging experiences. Rediscovering the ability to play is a potent source of healing and growth. This might be achieved through simple means such as pattern making with buttons, stones or miniature objects. Meaning emerges from such patterns and stories can be told. The Communicube is a method that harnesses such creative pattern making (see www.communicube.co.uk).
It follows from the above that creative activity is healing, indeed life giving, in itself and so people who create art can, without the services of a therapist, find benefit. For example Samantha Morton, an actress who survived, indeed triumphed over a difficult childhood, stated on BBC Radio 4 Women’s Hour on 7/12/2015:
“Acting saved me. Creativity was my salvation.”
The healing potential of artistic activity is recognized by the Arts in Health movement. The reason we need Arts Therapists is to enable those people who cannot find creative solutions, who are unable to play, who are frozen or stuck in their development.

I will be posting more information on this page in future.

JOHN CASSON Ph.D., M.A.,P.G.C.E.,Dip.Psychd.

John has now retired. He was a dramatherapist, psychodrama psychotherapist, supervisor, trainer. For 30 years he worked as a therapist with individuals and groups, including 11 years in N.H.S. Adult Mental Health. He had special experience in working with people who hear voices, who struggle with mental illnesses and who are survivors of abuse. He used action methods to enable people to rediscover their creativity, express feelings, explore problem areas, rehearse new behaviours and empower themselves. He may be available to offer one day workshops on the Communicube: see www.communicube.co.uk
He is happy to be contacted by trainees and others interested in dramatherapy and psychodrama but only to offer advice and information. To contact John e-mail: drjohncasson(at)gmail.com
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As he is retired John can recommend the following creative therapists in the NW of England:

Diane Adderley, UKCP Registered psychotherapist trained in psychodrama, sociodrama, NLP and EFT. She also holds certificates in counselling and Gestalt. She practises in M25 (Prestwich, Manchester). She has over 15 years experience. She particularly works with stress management, bereavement, developing self-confidence, anxiety, relationship issues and work-related issues. She is also a Life Coach and Clinical Supervisor. Contact Diane via email: diadderley@gmail.com

Diane Ball has been practising Dramatherapy for over twenty years and before this worked as a nurse in the NHS with people with learning difficulties using creative and therapeutic activities. She offers work with individuals (including Dramatherapy and other creative therapy students) at her base in Blackburn and offers group therapy throughout the North West.
She has a wide experience of working with both adults and children with learning difficulties. She also works in mainstream schools offering group and individual Dramatherapy.
Diane is a registered supervisor with The British Association for Dramatherapy and offers individual and group creative supervision.
Diane is a trainer and at present offers, Introduction to Dramatherapy, Working with Children, Therapeutic Play, Play Development, Working with Miniatures, Therapeutic Group Work, Team Building and Advocacy Training.
Her work is based on total acceptance of the individual combined with the explorative and healing potential of creativity.
Contact Diane dianeball11@talktalk.net or 07980348386

Dr Bonnie Meekums Psychotherapist, counsellor and Dance Movement Psychotherapist. Bonnie is one of the pioneers of Dance Movement Psychotherapy in Britain, having been practising for forty years. She is an Honorary Fellow and registered member of the UK Association for Dance Movement Psychotherapy. She also holds registrations with the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy and the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. She uses a range of approaches in her practice, according to the needs of the individual. This may range from action, through writing or drawing, to sitting on chairs and talking.
Bonnie has worked in many different settings, including the NHS, a Family Service Unit, an Eating Disorders Unit, and a women’s refuge. She works with people of all ages (including children and older people), and with individuals, couples and groups. She lectures internationally and has written two books as well as numerous academic papers.
Bonnie’s approach to therapy is one of deep respect for everyone with whom she works. She aims to work collaboratively, trusting in the power of the arts (and, where people prefer to just talk, a focus that goes ‘beyond words’) to reveal important issues, then work through these and make them manageable. Despite her many years of experience, she continues to be awed and delighted by the wisdom contained within each individual, and by the capacity for growth and healing.
Contact Bonnie via email: Bonnie.meekums@outlook.com

Charlie Moritz An experienced dramatherapist Charlie works in private practice offering creative psychotherapy to address a wide range of difficulties. A professional creative writer, Charlie has developed ways of blending drama, dramatherapy and creative writing therapeutically. He has much experience of offering creative group work and group therapy, is a qualified and experienced teacher (secondary, adult and higher education) and has particular experience of offering therapy to trainee dramatherapists and Arts therapists. He also continues to offer a range of creative and therapeutic trainings in a broad range of settings,
Charlie has considerable experience of and expertise in working with asylum seekers, refugees and their children and in particular has worked with clients who have endured severe trauma.
With a Certificate in Creative Supervision Charlie is also happy to offer supervision both to counsellors and psychotherapists.
His practice is based in Whaley Bridge Derbyshire and central Manchester. Contact Charlie by e-mail: moritzcharlie@hotmail.com
or see his website: www.charliemoritz.co.uk
Mobile: 07751275907