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Krylyn Peters Feb 28, 2011

Creativity And The Counseling Process

There’s a misconception that creative interventions focus solely on artistic ideas, such as art or music. But if you practice under that assumption, you’re missing out on a lot of opportunities to be creative with your clients. Creativity is really about finding different perspectives of expression. Not everyone expresses themselves in the same way. And our job as counselors is to help our clients express themselves in the best way for them. In order to do that, we must be creative.

While I believe artistic interventions can be extremely beneficial helping clients unlock deep thoughts and feelings, they’re not the only way. I often like to use the cues (verbal and nonverbal) that clients give me to come up with interventions. Here’s some I’ve used over the years to build rapport and help clients look at things from a different perspective:

•Played basketball with an elementary school student who didn’t like talking in my office
•Used puppets to teach social skills like team work and cooperation
•Asked adults in group session to use building blocks to learn about different communication styles
•Had child and adult group clients dance across the room to display their uniqueness
•Used metaphors to help clients relate counseling concepts to activities they can relate to
•Helped clients brainstorm ways to ease anger, stress, fear, anxiety, depression, etc.
•Role played with clients so they could practice how to have a difficult conversation, ask for what they want, and express their feelings

I bet you’ve used some of the above interventions with your own clients. And I bet you use creativity in your counseling practice more than you think.

As counselors, in order to be effective, we must constantly adapt to the information our clients present. We listen to what they say, watch their body language, and pick up on subtle changes in their energy. We must process all of that, combine it with what we know about helping people, and use our intuition to tailor interventions that will help clients where they’re at…right now. If you think about it, there’s no way NOT to be creative in the counseling process.

How are YOU creative with your clients?

Krylyn Peters is a counselor and singer/songwriter who uses the power of music and sound for healing.

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