The Creativity Gathering
Janie Keddie – 3rd Year MSc student, studying pluralistic counselling at Abertay University
Janie mooted the idea of Creativity Gathering in 2020 as a way of bringing together people who are passionate about creative approaches to therapy.
When we entered lockdown a little over a year ago, I never anticipated that this could be a time for creativity and connection. Yet unexpectedly, moving life online has made it possible to get together in new ways, with people I would never otherwise have met.
I was drawn to the pluralistic approach because this gives an ethical framework to work with different ideas. Therapy can be personalised according to client preferences and the resources available to them. Although my particular interest is using metaphor and storytelling, all forms of creativity are a source of inspiration and a potential resource. How best can we help clients harness their own creativity for healing?
I attended the on-line Pluralistic Conference in July 2020, where there was a great session on creative approaches in therapy. As people shared imaginative ways of working with clients – through storytelling, art, movement – I felt a powerful sense of belonging. Despite being geographic miles from the other participants, I wasn’t alone. I knew I wanted more.
Some kind of magic happened that day, because others felt likewise. And so, The Creativity Gathering was born. We meet monthly by the ‘Power of Zoom’ to exchange ideas and gain inspiration about creative approaches to therapy. There is a theme each month, so far including the written word, art and collage, drama. We have a particular interest in the use of storytelling as an aid to healing, and creative writing will be a recurring area for exploration.
We aim to be welcoming, informal, warm and inspiring. We are open to therapists from all modalities, whether qualified or in training, honouring each other’s experiences and perspectives. You don’t need to have any particular artistic training. We believe everyone has something to offer through the diverse ways we can express ourselves as individuals. Interest in creative approaches is enough: do come along.
I’ve been asked why we call this a “Gathering”. Meetings are for the working week, we want to start the weekend in a spirit of joy, connection and inspiration. Fundamentally, “Gatherings” happen when creative people assemble, and in doing so become more than the sum of the parts. We join together because we want to: we gather, we don’t meet. We gather to share stories, ideas, images, sounds and symbols. We are a group joined by common interests with a passion for healing and creative expression.
The Gatherings take place monthly, on the last Saturday of the month at 10am for one hour. Our online meetings are open to anyone who wishes to join. Feel free to contribute or be a quiet observer.
We want the space to feel safe and encourage exploration. We invite you to be sensitive to your own needs and those of fellow Gatherers; please be mindful of confidentiality and don’t share client details.
In February, the Gatherers shared ideas about using drama and movement to help clients; for example, two-chair work, rehearsing a feared event, creating a different ending for a past memory. We also considered simple ways to use posture and movement in sessions with clients; and yes, it’s possible, even over the phone. As with other Gatherings, I felt I’d been presented with a smorgasbord of ideas, and my appetite was whetted to try them out when an appropriate opportunity arises.
Our Gathering on 27th March at 10am will be themed around “storytelling and creative writing”. If you would like to join with us, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.