“Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life.” ~ Pablo Picasso
Creativity works in mysterious and often paradoxical ways. Creative thinking is a stable, defining characteristic in some personalities, but it may also change based on situation and context. Inspiration and ideas often arise seemingly out of nowhere and then fail to show up when we most need them, and creative thinking requires complex cognition yet is completely distinct from the thinking process.
Neuroscience paints a complicated picture of creativity. As scientists now understand it, creativity is far more complex than the right-left brain distinction would have us think (the theory being that left brain = rational and analytical, right brain = creative and emotional). In fact, creativity is thought to involve a number of cognitive processes, neural pathways and emotions, and we still don’t have the full picture of how the imaginative mind works.
And psychologically speaking, creative personality types are difficult to pin down, largely because they’re complex, paradoxical and tend to avoid habit or routine. And it’s not just a stereotype of the “tortured artist” — artists really may be more complicated people. Research has suggested that creativity involves the coming together of a multitude of traits, behaviors and social influences in a single person.
“It’s actually hard for creative people to know themselves because the creative self is more complex than the non-creative self,” Scott Barry Kaufman, a psychologist at New York University who has spent years researching creativity, told The Huffington Post. “The things that stand out the most are the paradoxes of the creative self … Imaginative people have messier minds.”
While there’s no “typical” creative type, there are some tell-tale characteristics and behaviors of highly creative people. Here are 18 things they do differently.
Read more about “18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently“
Are you currently in a life transition? Finishing school? Changing careers? Separation or divorce from partner? Having a baby? Recovering from substance use or an accident? Many of us are ‘creatures of habit’ making transitions hard. It is a type of grieving process of our former lives. If we shed our former lives but hold on to the corpses our transformation is not complete and we become stuck… Or hold on to the old habits and routines. Honoring your grief of your former life and allowing it to return to the earth your will feel free of the weight of your corpses. Rejoice and embrace the life set out in front of you.
“Murder of Crows”
© Heather Matson 2011
Exploring life transitions through art therapy can be a powerful tool. Bringing insight and resolution, making the process of transition easier.
“Honoring My Grief” – in session
© Heather Matson 2013
Losing a loved one is hard. Many discount the intense connection one makes with their furry companions. Animals have a special relationship with their humans. Animal companions provide unconditional love, do not pass judgment and witness our lives through thick and thin. Losing a special animal companion is like losing a member of the family. They may have left your physical side but the love that you feel is real and will be forever in your heart. Feel free to share your good memories and stories in honor of the love you share.
Personal art journaling task: Create an image of your favorite memory of a beloved companion animal that has passed.
Image above is of Ceri our family dog. Our favorite memory of her was the endless cold winter nights that she would sit on top of the hill in the backyard, watching the woods for deer, coyotes and listening for the owls. She would sit as if in a trance. Then coming in for a snuggle hug to warm up just before bedtime.
Art therapy is an established mental health profession that uses the creative process of art making to improve and enhance the physical, mental and emotional well-being of individuals of all ages. It is based on the belief that the creative process involved in artistic self-expression helps people to resolve conflicts and problems, develop interpersonal skills, manage behavior, reduce stress, increase self-esteem and self-awareness, and achieve insight. Art therapy integrates the fields of human development, visual art (drawing, painting, sculpture, and other art forms), and the creative process with models of counseling and psychotherapy.
History of art therapy
Visual expression has been used for healing throughout history, but art therapy did not emerge as a distinct profession until the 1940s. In the early 20th century, psychiatrists became interested in the artwork created by their patients with mental illness. At around the same time, educators were discovering that children’s art expressions reflected developmental, emotional, and cognitive growth. By mid-century, hospitals, clinics, and rehabilitation centers increasingly began to include art therapy programs along with traditional “talk therapies,” underscoring the recognition that the creative process of art making enhanced recovery, health, and wellness.
Provided by the American Art Therapy Association.