At first thought, I do not necessarily think of myself as a creative person. I am definitely a Type A, organized and structured person that always has a plan in place. Usually, I have a plan B and C, as well. I’m pretty methodical and strategic in my actions. Some might say that I am rather predictable. Yet, the more that I critically analyze my activities, the more I realize that I AM in fact creative. Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so is creativity.
Within my educational institution, I am surrounded by quite a few counselors or counselors-in-training that I would view as creative. I can think of one individual who utilizes music as a form of creative expression and as the impetus for conversation on sexuality. Another person, who is a fan of symbolic meaning, regularly uses the artistic form of painting to have her clients express their emotions. And yet another colleague who prefers naturalistic practices, such as ecological counseling.
However, I have come to the realization that creativity takes a variety of forms. While I may not be artistic, in terms of visual arts, I am able to demonstrate my creativity in the types of counseling methods and activities that I engage in with students. I think individual and group counseling with children or adolescents provides a great platform to demonstrate one’s creativity. For example, I remember working with a 5th grade boy who exhibited anger management issues. He was not very keen on sitting still in my office during counseling sessions. So, I decided to take him outside and blow bubbles so that he had some sort of movement. The deal I made with him was that I expected him to describe a feeling that he has when he becomes angry for each bubble that he blew. This created the opportunity for him to have some control of the session, in terms of how much he was willing to share. I strongly believe that he would not have opened up as much had I simply sat in my office at the kiddie counseling table with him.
This is just one example of how my creativity shines through. It is not just about creating a product, such as a poem or painting, but rather utilizing a creative method. Given some time to reflect, I can see that this is where I flourish. My mind tends to operative in a systemic, organized way. But at the same time, I am always looking for new and innovative ways of approaching tasks. Being able to be adaptive is an important aspect too. I am able to best meet the needs of my students when I take a one size does not fit all approach.
Just as we all have different communication and learning styles, we also have different forms of creativity. This diversity is what one of the aspects that is so great about the counseling profession!
Sandi Logan is school counselor and currently a doctoral student in the Counselor Education and Supervision program at University of Florida. Prior to pursuing further studies, she worked as an elementary and middle school counselor in Southern California.