Many times, we as therapists can feel “stuck” in the process of doing therapy, either with a particular client or more generally with a certain population. It may be an adolescent not wanting to be in therapy, a very depressed older individual or a couple so entrenched in a non-stop pattern of arguing you feel a need for a megaphone just to interject some redirection.
In most, if not all, of these cases we need some moments of calm and self-clarity to be sure, but it might also be helpful to “think outside of the box” as well. Try introducing creative interventions such as art (music, visual arts, poetry or prose).
We could certainly draw from our own experiences by offering stories, metaphors or pieces of music, but I have found it to be much more profound when tapping into the creativity of the clients themselves. Their own storytelling, poetry, artwork, music, etc. can be much more compelling, meaningful and healing if they are left untouched in a respectful manner. That is, we don’t interpret or judge in any way, but instead encourage growth by allowing clients’ creative outlets to portray whatever meaning and purpose they are attempting to express.
A word of caution: those of us who are not specifically trained or certified in expressive art therapies should use these modalities carefully and only adjunctively to the work we are trained in. However, creativity in all its wonderful forms, used with care, can be transformative in moving the therapeutic process forward.
Respect-Focused Therapy (RFT) is a foundation on which all modalities and techniques used in therapy can be strongly grounded, in order to produce sound, effective outcomes. This approach offers clients the opportunity to gain experiential understanding of being respected, possibly for the first time, from the therapeutic relationship and then be able to heal old wounds by creating more respect for self and others in the therapeutic process.