Complementary therapies: How the Arts and Creative Therapists can reach the top?

Updated: Oct 26, 2020

eMindology blog series - Blog #5

Arts and the expression of creativity are probably one of the well-being tools which resonate the most with a global audience. Dance, Music, Crafts, Drama, Storytelling etc have been used for immemorial time – as a way to help people disconnect from the external World, reconnect with themselves and share their conscious and unconscious thoughts with others. From the active creator to the active spectator, creativity relieves the Mind and heals the Spirit. Whatever our cultural background, this is a Universal Truth. So why don’t these practices make the headlines as often as Yoga, Meditation or Mindfulness? Here are 3 directions that the Art and Creative therapists can take to make it to the top of the complementary therapies and make a global impact.

Photo by Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash

1. Give more freedom to the Arts and Creative therapies

The Art and Creative therapists are by essence global and even universal because the core of their practice - Arts and Creative expressions – are universal and resonate with the same force and energy in every human culture. And therefore Arts and Creative therapies should be able to be inclusively taught, equally accessible and evenly understood by everyone.

Art and Creative therapies training could be more open to people who want to learn them and practice them. Not just the availability of classes and affordable school fees, we are also talking about the content of the training. These therapies are based on global disciplines where every culture can claim an expertise, so the programs should be more inclusive. Racism and unconscious bias are not only detrimental to the progress of Arts and Creatives therapies but also restrain the power of those therapies for the end-users: People.

These therapies could also be made available to everyone, from individuals with mental health conditions to the ones who want to use the power of Arts in their personal development journey. By opening their expertise to the wider public, the Arts and creative therapists can raise awareness about their specialities, be relevant to whatever people may be experiencing at the moment, and establish themselves as key players in the well-being landscape. Self-care and Personal development are booming trends and are also a normal extension of mental health work. In fact, to be able to make an impact, the Arts therapists have to take the lead in the Arts as well-being tools altogether.

To reach the top, the Art and Creative Therapies may have to envisage to redefine themselves. That redefinition would aim to make Arts therapies more universally accepted and understood by everyone. One of the major challenges that they are facing is to distinguish themselves - the Arts therapists - from the Artists, the mental health professionals who are also using arts in their interventions, or simply individuals promoting Arts as a Therapy. For the general public, the frontiers between “Art as a therapy” and Art therapy, “Dance as a therapy” and Dance therapy, “Music as a therapy” and Music therapy can be very blurry. The professional Title may be legal and regulatory protections but there is a confusion about who and what is actually protected.

Overall, it is first by reconnecting with their wholeness and by releasing self-inflicted limitations that Arts and Creative therapies will be able to move up the ladders in the complementary therapies market. Another way to reach the top is to invite the therapists themselves to reconnect with their own wholeness too.

2. The Arts and Creative therapists can enrich their practice

According to the philosophical concepts of microcosm/macrocosm, a Human being is a smaller representation of the Universe. And according to Physics, what makes the whole Universe sustains its growth are those 4 elements: Time, Space, Matter and Energy. Here are how the Arts and Creative therapists can also thrive just by reconnecting with those 4 elements.

Connecting with Time suggests continuity and perpetuation. The Arts and Creative therapists can grow their knowledge by rediscovering Ancient theories, approaches and practices and bringing them back to the present. And they can also experiment and innovate to perpetuate their practice and make it future-proofed.

The connection with Space overcomes physical limitations and facilitate the learning, the teaching and the practice – physically or virtually online with people from all around the World. It also enriches their practice with a multicultural insight from and for a Global Audience. Finally, it can also suggest that in Arts the limit is the sky but it is important for the Arts and creative therapists to stay deeply grounded into reality.

The Matter connection can relate to both the physical and the digital sphere to reach and connect with their audience. The matter is also associated with the essence of their practice, and being able to navigate between the known and the less unknown, the over popular to the underexploited, the classic or evidence-based to the experimental. We could also think that matter is referring to the intensity of the interventions, suggesting a possibility to navigate between mental health support and personal development.

The connections of Energy is a connection with people including positive and uplifting colleagues and peers. That energy comes from people who are visionary, passionate and innovative about their practice and their Industry and who leave the Arts therapists energised, inspired and motivated. At the contrary, negative people who resist rather than accept and follow the unstoppable flow of change and flow of life should be let go.

Some physicians mention that Information is also part of the Universe and can impact Society. It suggests that the Arts and Creative therapists can connect with information by taking and sharing that information, collecting and providing qualitative and quantitative data about their practice and their benefits, and visualise their impacts.

Information is also valuable to be able to nurture and tap into the power of the collective intelligence.

3. They can tap into the power of the collective intelligence

When we mix the insatiable Human search for new positive experiences, the unwavering passion to help and contribute from Therapists and the endless need to experiment, question and solve problems from Scientists, we end up with the wisest collective intelligence in mental well-being to crack the problems faced by Humankind. And this is where the Arts and Creatives therapists have to get their intel to reach the top of the complementary therapies.

Historically some current complementary therapies have been in the therapeutic landscape long before today’s classical medicine approach. One reason for this perennial success is that they have been carried over time by people. Without people finding enough benefits to rouse the scientist’s interest, without people sharing their experiences with others to create popular traction, and without people giving precious insight to therapists to sharpen their practices, therapeutic trends just come, fade and die.

People are the therapists’ best collaborators but as we saw earlier, there is currently a disconnection between the way the Arts and creative therapists perceived themselves and the way people actually perceived them. Both side probably holds a part of the truth but the collective intelligence could help the therapists come up with a more accurate and unanimous definition, identify their real distinctive and key pillars compared to others competitors, and be able to grow from stronger roots grounded into the reality.

People are also the therapists’ ambassadors and gateway to Scientific recognition. We are living in an era where more people are feeling empowered to take responsibility for their well-being without necessarily waiting for scientifical validation. Studies from the last decades have consistently shown a growing interest from the British and European – and even global - population for more complementary therapies. That increasing demand from people has been the driving force behind the surge of researches in complementary therapy, including Yoga, Meditation and Mindfulness, from the NHS to the most reputed Universities in the UK, Europe, US and Worldwide. And this is how recent studies have been able to confirm only now evidence for millennia-old practices.

As Arts and creative therapies are as much old, they can surely enjoy the same success story. They already hold all the cards to become key figures in the building of the Global mental well-being.

Are you an Arts and Creative Therapist thinking outside the box? What help you stay at the top of your game? Please share your wisdom as we would love to hear from you!


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