Why creativity is so important
Creativity allows us to access and express subconscious knowing, when we have nothing more than a gut feeling or hunch. The creative expression of what we think we know provides space to test new ideas, externalise imagined possibilities and try them on ‘for fit’.
Creativity often feels like play which is closely linked to experiencing joy. It is often during these seemingly idle times that our brains make big cognitive leaps towards solving a problem.
Engaging in everyday creative activities has positive outcomes for our health and wellbeing, supports re-wiring cognitive and emotional patterns and is seen as a critical skill in the future of work.
Below, you can find a range of resources that provide more information on the topic of creativity and how I integrate it into my work.
An extensive synthesis report published by the WHO in 2019 acknowledges the growing evidence base for the role of the arts in improving health and wellbeing. It highlights how different aspects of art making including social interaction, using imagination, activating our senses, evoking emotions and cognitive stimulation can lead to improvements across four categories:
Psychological (e.g. enhanced coping and emotional regulation)
Physiological (e.g. lower stress hormone levels, enhanced immune function)
Social (e.g. reduced loneliness and isolation, enhanced social support networks)
Behavioural (e.g. adoption of healthier behaviours, skills development)
Neuroplasticity is defined as the physiological changes in the brain in response to learning. These changes to our neurobiology take time, repetition and supportive routines or habits to strengthen the new connections.
"Art making within a professional therapeutic relationship can establish a routine that forges new neuronal links, and the art products over time are the concrete representation of learning and change.”
(Source: “Practical Applications of Neuroscience-Informed Art Therapy”; DOI 10.1080/07421656.2019.1649549)
My aim is to help people train their creative muscle and access their imagination to shape a fulfilling life.
"Imagination gives us the opportunity to envision new possibilities – it is an essential launchpad for making our hopes come true. It fires our creativity, relieves our boredom, alleviates our pain, enhances our pleasure, and enriches our most intimate relationships.”
(Source: Bessel van der Kolk in The Body Keeps The Score)
In their 2010 study among 1500+ CEOs, IBM found that “chief executives believe that (…) successfully navigating an increasing complex world will require creativity.”
In their Future of Jobs Survey 2020, the World Economic Forum identified the top 10 skills of 2025. They include:
Creativity, originality, and initiative;
Resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility;
Reasoning, problem solving, and ideation;
Creativity is also among the 4 Critical (4C) skills as identified by the American Management Association (AMA). They define creativity and innovation as the ability to see what’s not there and make something happen.
Tom and David Kelley (IDEO) have long promoted the idea that one has to choose creativity. Instead of reserving it for the ‘creative types’ or especially gifted individuals, every individual can rekindle their creativity, imagination and courage with the right encouragement and guidance, and the time and structure to commit to a practice.
Many articles that attempt to distinguish coaching from therapy come up with these differentiators:
Therapy focuses on the past, coaching on the future.
Therapy is long-term, coaching attempts short term results.
Therapists provide a diagnosis, whereas coaches don’t.
Simplicity is desirable. But I believe a more nuanced approach is required to explore the differences between coaching and therapy.
The world is changing… it has always been changing. Most recently though, we might have felt this change more intensely. The reality of living in a VUCA world has moved from board rooms into living rooms. VUCA stands for a world that is volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous – and don’t we know what that feels like?!
This world asks for creative resilient responses. It’s no surprise that creativity has been listed among the top work skills for the future.
Twyla Tharp’s book ‘The Creative Habit. Learn and use it for life’ is one of the books on creativity I return to again and again. I remember looking at it so many times before buying it. I was unsure whether it’s for me. Mainly because Twyla Tharp is a renowned choreographer. And I am not a dancer.
I’m so glad I eventually got it because her writing and teaching isn’t just for dancers, choreographers or people interested in dance. It is for everyone who is interested in nurturing and using their creativity.
I was leisurely scrolling through Instagram this morning and came across a familiar quote from Brené Brown: “’Crazy-busy’ is a great armor, it’s a great way for numbing. What a lot of us do is that we stay so busy, and so out in front of our life, that the truth of how we’re feeling and what we really need can’t catch up with us.”
She suggests that some of us are ‘crazy-busy’ because we’re trying to outrun our needs and emotions.
In this podcast, I talk to Danielle Price, founder of women's business network She Will Shine during the Covid-19 lockdown. I share insights on why we are feeling increasingly anxious and fearful, and techniques to help.
Some people have a clear idea what they want to work on and whether this feels like therapy or coaching. Others find things are a bit murky or vague. As I have a therapeutic qualification, I can work across the coaching-therapy-continuum. In our discovery call and first session, we will discuss what feels most appropriate and beneficial for you. Whether I work as your therapist or coach, my style is collaborative and centres around you as the expert in your life. When I coach, our work might move along faster, with more reflection and work done by you between sessions. Sometimes, we move from clear coaching territory into therapy. This can be the case only for a few sessions, depending on what’s coming up for you. When I notice this, I will address and discuss this shift with you. This article on my blog provides some more information on this.
I use Zoom for my online sessions. To get the most out of your session, it is important that you have a quiet and private space to work in and a reliable internet connection. If you aren’t familiar with Zoom, we can use the (free of charge) Discovery Call as a trial run to see whether online feels right for you.
You can also book a Sensemaking Studio Hour to get the experience of working with me online. Find out more about it here.
Each session will unfold around your needs. We will work towards your overall coaching/ therapy goal and capture any specific intentions on the day. Unless it is our first session, we will explore what has shown up in-between sessions and in any homework invitations or reflections. Sometimes, we might agree to use a specific creative process in the sessions, but especially when working online, the creative exploration is often part of the work you do between sessions. Any creative work is about finding personal meaning, and I will not interpret your art. Typically, a 1-on-1 session is 60 or 90 minutes.
This depends on your goals and what you want to get out of our work together. Some people might only need a few sessions to kick start a process of change, others benefit from and prefer longer-term therapy or coaching. I’m also working with people who prefer regular, typically weekly or fortnightly sessions. For others, it works well to check in less frequently and use the in-between time and the offer of email coaching to reflect and integrate their insights. I recommend that we discuss options in a first, free of charge Zoom conversation. There is no need to commit upfront to a certain number of sessions, we can re-assess this as our work progresses.
"I'm not that creative" is a profoundly dangerous myth. The only unique contribution that we will ever make in this world will be born out of our creativity. We are makers.