Archive for the 'creative people' Category

Ecopsychology, Self Care, and Creative Practice

February 25, 2018

Last week was the opening of Tending the Flames: Burnout and Resilience in Helping Professions exhibit, sponsored by Tri-C Gallery East, Tri-C’s Creative Arts and Art Therapy Program, Ursuline College’s Counseling and Art Therapy Department, and the Buckeye Art Therapy Association. The theme of this year’s exhibit is dedicated to how caregivers and helpers use art and the creative process to manage the stress and experiences related to this role, as well as nurture and strengthen resilience.

Part of the exhibit’s opening included a community lecture by local environmental philosopher and Lake Erie Institute Director Dr. Elizabeth Meacham, who spoke to attendees about the role of nature and ecopsychology in helping restore wellbeing, health, and recover from challenging circumstances or pressures associated with taking care of others. Dr. Meacham provided simple strategies to invite a daily nature practice in our lives and work, such as but not limited to:

  • Remembering to take outdoor breaks – go for a walk, visit your favorite nature spot;
  • Find a favorite tree in your environment that you can visit daily and feel, interact with;
  • If you are unable to get outside, have nature objects such as rocks and leaves indoors- pause and take in their sensory based qualities through touch and smell;
  • Tune into and engage your senses through imagery, breath, sound, and smell

If you are interested in learning more about Dr. Meacham’s teachings, check out these resources:

If you are interested in learn more about the role of ecopsychology in art therapy and burnout, check out this True Calling podcast, Art Therapy, Ecopsychology, & Curing Chronic Burnout with Registered Art Therapist Lanie Smith or her post, Nature as a Portal to Self: How Eco Art Therapy Can Help You Reconnect and Heal.

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For this exhibit, my supervision group created a mandala inspired by this year’s theme, working on what we titled a “Self Care Compass”.  Our image included a contribution from each of us about what helps guide our work and self care as art therapists.  Themes of interacting with nature, practicing mindfulness, flexibility, and grounding ourselves in hope and growth were explored in our collective dialogue and expressed in the art we created together.  Self care is an important, ongoing discussion in supervision, whether it is activating ways to take better care of ourselves, balance our daily lives and relationships with our work responsibilities and commitments, stay present and connected, or cultivate compassion satisfaction instead of compassion fatigue.

Self care compass- oil pastels, paint sticks, markers on craft paper | Leah, Skyla, Jessi, Lacey, Gretchen, 2018

My 2013 art journal about self care as an art therapist and trauma practitioner was also on display at the exhibit, focusing on themes related to gratitude, affirmation, strengths, and mindfulness in connection to facilitating trauma informed care. It was so inspiring to see all the works of art and creative expressions that filled the gallery in the spirit of the exhibit’s focus.

Self care through creative practice project | gretchen miller, 2013

If you are in the area and interested in checking out the exhibit, it is on display until March 22 and located on the Eastern Campus of Tri-C in Highland Hills, Ohio. Gallery East is in room 135 of the Education Center and open daily. Call 1-216-987-2475 for more information.

Related Links

Self-Care through Creative Practice & Intention: Affirmation

Creative Action Link Round Up: Self-Care, Responsibility, Community

Exploring Covenant Based Caregiving with a Creative Twist

Journey to Resilience: Takeaways & Creative Offerings

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The Joy of Bob Ross

January 14, 2018

Last week the classic PBS TV show The Joy of Painting with host and artist Bob Ross celebrated its 35th Anniversary!  The appeal and love of Bob Ross is stronger than ever for old fans and new, with opportunities to binge watch past episodes on Netflix, attend Bob Ross Paint-Along events, and new Bob Ross inspired products and artisan wears to get your daily dose of positivity and determination.

The joys of Bob Ross are many for me:  his calming voice, his words of encouragement and validation as he not only empowers the viewer with how to paint, but with language and experiences inspired by his creative process about life, making mistakes, choices, and enjoying the moment. Bob’s soothing tone, love of nature, and storytelling creates a safe and comforting space of acceptance.  As an art therapist, I find myself sometimes channeling the spirit and referencing the words of Bob Ross with my clients, as an example of how to reframe mistakes, create our world, and be kind to ourselves and others.  Read some of Bob Ross’ inspiring quotes here or watch this fun PBS remix capturing some of his iconic phrases and life lessons while painting on his show.

And…. how perfect it was to be gifted the 2018 Bob Ross calendar over the holidays to be reminded throughout the year of his wisdom and share it with others!  🙂  An inspiring way to launch 2018!

Enjoy more Bob Ross with these related links:

The Life and Story of Bob Ross

Random Joy of Painting with Bob Ross

A Statistical Analysis of the Work of Bob Ross

The Soothing Sounds of Bob Ross

Watch Bob Ross for an Uplifting and Therapeutic Experience

“I can’t think of anything more rewarding than being able to express yourself to others through painting. Exercising the imagination, experimenting with talents, being creative; these things, to me, are truly the windows to your soul.” ~Bob Ross

Artist Dates, Creative Field Trips, and Artful Adventures: 18 Ideas for 2018

January 8, 2018

Last week I was scrolling my social media feed and stumbled upon a daily dose of creative goodness from Sharon Burton.  I always look forward to seeing Sharon’s posts pop up- they are full of inspiring ideas, people, quotes, and images to nurture our creative spirit.  Sharon recently founded Spark Your Creative to help others discover and strengthen their creative gifts.  Sharon posted an encouraging invitation to think about scheduling Artist Dates for the new year, something she already practices and shares weekly. I thought to myself, “I want to do this!” and make a 2018 commitment to taking creative field trips and going on artful adventures- on my own and with others on and offline. I started to brainstorm some ideas….. with regular creative activities and practices I want to do more of, as well as new possibilities and experiences that I would like to do/try/enjoy over the next 12 months:

1. Art exhibits: In 2017, I had the amazing opportunity to experience Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room- The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away at The Broad when I was visiting Los Angeles.  This summer, six of Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Rooms are coming to the Cleveland Museum of Art. This is definitely a must do local creative field trip in 2018! Is there an exhibit or artist you want to see this year?

Yayoi Kusama Infinity Mirrored Room @ The Broad, Los Angeles (2017)

2. Visit studio spaces.

3. Saturday Art Nights- with one of nights dedicated to playing with alcohol inks and watercolor on Yupo paper.

4. Take an art class.

5. Have an art movie night.

6. Organize my creative space and art materials, supplies- I realllly need to do this.

7. Blog more- One of my social media goals for this year is to begin regularly blogging more again! I’m trying out this editorial blogging journal to help support content, planning, and scheduling.

8. Replenish my magazine photo collage stash- I always find the process relaxing and inspiring! Made some progress on taking time to do this already! Doing another paper stash swap this year would also be fun!

9. Take a visit to Michael’s with my new giftcard. I would like to venture out for a visit to Blick this year too!

10. Take $5 to spend on items to use for an art project at a dollar store.  See how far you can stretch it. (#81 of Julia Cameron’s 101 Artist Date Ideas)

11. Bob Ross Art of Chill Board Game Playing- We recently played this during a Saturday art night and once we got all the rules and concept figured out, it was a fun time….

 

12. Follow, connect to, and be inspired by more art, artists, creatives, and art communities/organizations on social media.

13. Learn a new art technique or media.

14. Discover new artist blogs and revisit my favorites.

15. Organize a local art therapist meet up to hang out, make some art, and have fun together!

16. Create a new creative offering online.

17. Remain socially engaged in arts and art therapy advocacy through reaching out to, visiting with, and building relationships with legislators, policy makers, and stakeholders.

18. Invite spontaneous opportunities for creative connection and mindful moments of creativity!

What kind of artist dates, creative field trips, and artful adventures do you want to take in 2018?

 

2017 Creative Inspiration in Art Therapy, Advocacy, and the Arts

December 26, 2017

In this post I want to offer some of the silver linings I’ve tweeted or retweeted this year, with attention to the arts, creativity, advocacy, and art therapy.  There have been several positive moments, messages, and accomplishments that I have found hopeful and encouraging… some light among the events and challenges 2017 has seen.

  • The American Art Therapy Association recently published this 2017 review of art therapy achievements in public awareness, advocacy, organizational statements, campaigns, and professional development seen this year on state and federal levels and within the Association;
  • This early 2017 article Creative Collaboration is What Humans Do Best speaks to the power of creativity and imagination to help us proactively and collectively work together on the challenges we experience. This piece encourages us to use our interconnectedness for constructively solving problems and activate successful solutions.  These empowering words were a great read and reminder to help counteract experiences of division and sense of powerlessness or helplessness we may face;
  • This summer I blogged about the US Department of Arts and Culture’s Guide to Artistic Response to Natural Disasters and Social Emergencies as a creative action resource. Also worth bringing attention to are other opportunities on the USDAC site available for art citizens who want to make a social impact with their creative expression.  The next event happening is the People’s State of the Union, an annual civic ritual and participatory art project if you are interested in getting involved!
  • Throughout this year, the Americans for the Arts has blogged on many current topics impacting the arts, artists, and communities, as well as ways for arts advocates to get involved in, support, and how to reach out policy makers and legislators about matters involving social change, leadership, community engagement, arts business, and more. A really valuable presentation I attended at the 2017 American Art Therapy Association conference in November was a legislative advocacy and lobbying information session led by Senior Director of State and Local Government Affairs at Americans for the Arts Jay Dick. This session presented positive ways art therapists can leverage legislator relationships to meet licensure and advocacy goals;

  • Also in November the Americans for the Arts reported that $150 million has been proposed for National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for Humanities funding in 2018.  This news was a huge win for arts advocacy efforts, as it was recommended by the current administration that funding for these vital government programs be completely eliminated. These monies will also continue to fund NEA’s Creative Forces, a military healing arts network, which includes art therapy services for veterans and service members;
  • Art Therapist Lani Gerity’s 2017 blog posts (#157-#171) Out of A Thousand Ways to Have a Happy Artist’s Life series has also highlighted much needed reminders about how the arts, creativity, and imagination can be used to help us be more resilient, kinder, and peaceful when facing dark and unsettling times.

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I wish you a 2018 full of artful abundance and creative spirit…. Happy New Year to you and yours!

Art Therapy In Action Interview Series

November 4, 2017

The American Art Therapy Association (AATA) has started to release a series of videos, Art Therapy in Action, that features credentialed art therapists talking about their work with a variety of populations, settings, and topics.  This series of interviews describe “how the unique and integrative properties of art therapy can enrich lives, support personal and relational treatment goals, address community concerns, and advance societal and ecological change”.  If you are interested in learning more about how art therapists work, these videos offer a great look into the different approaches, applications, and ways art therapy can be facilitated.

Some of the videos already released include interviews with art therapists who work with:

  • Adolescents
  • Children in Hospital Settings
  • Individuals in the LGBTQIA Community
  • Veterans and Military Service Members
  • Older Adults and Memory Care
  • Eating Disorders
  • Prisons and Correctional Settings
  • Research
  • Cross Cultural Projects and Communities

I am honored that I was also able to contribute to this series, participating in an interview about art therapy and trauma with art therapy colleagues Cheryl Doby-Copeland and Juliet King:

Future topics, interviews, and art therapists will continue to be added to this series, so stay tuned for more on AATA’s YouTube Channel or on the AATA website.

Some Art Therapy Meets Social Media Takeaways

July 17, 2017

Over the last month I have been sharing a weekly interview series featuring different art therapists and how they use the power of the Internet and social media in relationship to sharing their work with others, professional development, nurturing creativity, cultivating community and more.  It has been so fun to chat with everyone– many of the conversations have had crossover themes and topics, but at the same time uniquely different! I definitely recommend checking out and listening to the interviews- lots of inspiring reflections, resources, and experiences!

Below is my top 10 list of great takeaways inspired by this series:

  1. Even though the Internet and world of social media can seem soooo big- online communities, social networking sites, and groups create amazing opportunities for us to easily connect to others that share similar interests…. or can introduce us to new experiences and resources— no matter where we live!
  2. Activate your online experience! While there is a lot of value in obtaining and connecting to information shared in digital groups, communities, and virtual spaces- don’t be afraid to reach out to others, respond with feedback or questions and share your own experiences with others.
  3. Connecting with other art therapists online helps strengthen relational support and decrease isolation, especially for those in private practice, who work independently, or interested in expanding their professional community.
  4. Social media is a great tool for sharing our enthusiasm and drive for educating others about the field, art therapy, promoting services, and the work of art therapists.
  5. The amount of knowledge, resources, and information available at our fingertips makes researching information about art therapy, how to become an art therapist, and special interests so easy and accessible. Lots of great resources were shared and recommended during each interview!
  6. You don’t have to use every social networking platform out there.  You can manage your resources and time on social media with platforms that best fit you. Pacing yourself to develop a professional presence on different platforms over time can also be a helpful strategy.
  7. For many of the art therapists I chatted with, social media has been an inspiring place to connect with other artists, art-making, and art communities. Social media has helped positively motivate personal creative expression and art practices.
  8. Creating a social media strategy for sharing content can be an effective way to stay engaged and committed to ones professional digital presence.
  9. Blogging is a great way to share what inspires you, connect with others, and take stock about your work as an art therapist and artist.
  10. Everyone can contribute something valuable for others to learn from and be inspired by– you don’t have to be an expert, early adopter, or technology guru to start!

Thank you to Carolyn, Petrea, Rachel, Lani, Theresa, and Jade for sharing their thoughts and experiences in this series.  I am also honored and so excited to include their work and many others in my forthcoming book.

Check out the series of interviews here!

 

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In addition, if you are planning to attend the 2017 American Art Therapy Association conference in Albuquerque New Mexico, this November I will be offering an Advanced Practice Course, The Art of Creating a Professional Digital Presence on the conference’s first day. If this topic interests you, the course presents practical content about how art therapists can create a strong professional digital presence through the use of social media. Participants will be introduced to strategies and considerations for cultivating a presence online that aligns with ones professional work, passions, values, and career interests.

Course objectives:

  • Discover ways an individual art therapist’s digital presence can positively impact the art therapy field at large;
  • Learn strategies to use for professionally sharing content on social media;
  • Identify approaches that social networking can help create or enhance a professionally focused profile or activities for art therapists.

Advanced registration is open until October 31, 2017.  Download the conference brochure here.

The Role of Social Media in Creativity and Connection

April 10, 2017

This past week, I helped moderate an online Make-inar organized by Inner Canvas‘ Lisa Mitchell that brought together therapists, students, and professionals to learn more about how connecting with your creativity can be a great way to strengthen your experiences as a clinician and see your therapeutic relationships and work with clients from a new and fresh perspective. I love opportunities that bring people together through technology for a common interest and the way these experiences offer support, encouragement, and connection! I left feeling inspired by the energy of the group and had lots of fun connecting with everyone.

This Make-inar was a preview event for a larger offering happening next month. I am super excited to announce that registration is now open for CreateFest 2017: The Second Annual Online Creativity Festival for Mental Health Professionals being held May 19 & 20. I contributed last year as a speaker and it was a great! I am thrilled to return to CreateFest again this year- not only as a speaker, but as co-host too!  🙂

CreateFest is a 2-day celebration to empower therapists, awaken our creative spirit, and reignite passion for our work.  Lisa has invited 12 speakers, all of whom are passionately committed to helping revitalize and enhance our practice.  Topics will include how to manage creative anxiety, embody our intuition, use creativity to grow resources, integrating writing with painting, writing for healing, and more through speaker interviews and lively conversation.  Rick Hanson, Natalie Goldberg, and Kay Adams are only a few of the speakers in this year’s line up that I am looking forward to learning from. Attendees will also be invited to participate in interactive, hands on creative experiences from each speaker to further explore the content and concepts presented.  No worries if you can’t make CreateFest live—there will be recordings available to watch at your convenience after the festival! This is a great online CEU opportunity for therapists including LMFT’s, LCSW’s, LPC’s, LMHC’s, ATR-BC’s. For a complete list visit the FAQ section of the CreateFest website.

I will be speaking about the role of social media in creativity and connection; specifically how social networking can inspire us and activate our creative process.  I will be sharing examples of art’s ability to bridge the gap between digital and physical connection and offer an invitation for CreateFest attendees to participate in a fun art exchange.

 

A CreateFest early bird rate is available until April 28- and there is also a discount available for people who register together!  Check out more information here.

I hope you will consider joining us!

Digital Art Therapy: Material, Methods, and Applications

November 28, 2016

If you are interested in learning more about current topics and practices related to digital art therapy, Jessica Kingsley Publishers just released a new book edited by Rick Garner entitled Digital Art Therapy: Material, Methods, and Applications.

Digital Art Therapy: Material, Methods, and Applications

As the field of digital art therapy rapidly expands, this book guides readers through the many applications of digital media in art therapy. With consideration of professional and ethical issues, expert contributors discuss materials and methods, with case examples to show how digital art therapy works in practice.

The text includes twelve chapters addressing a wide variety of art therapy approaches using and about digital media, such as stop motion, green screen technology, apps, light painting, and virtual reality.  Using technology in art therapy with youth who have autism, adults with traumatic brain injury, adolescents, as well as for supervision and assessment are also explored.

I am excited to also have contributed a chapter to this inspiring collection of content and co-authors. My chapter Social Media and Creative Motivation explores the relationship and impact social media can have on cultivating creative motivation, including considerations and examples about leveraging online and social networking sites as a means for inspiration, engagement, community, and connection.

My chapter was initially inspired by this blog post published on Creativity in Motion a couple of years ago.  That post reflected on archived Brainzooming content published by Mike Brown about how social media motivates creativity to create/make things/do creative stuff. Also included in my chapter are some of the collaborative projects I have worked on over the years, such as Spaces and Places: Where We Create and the Random Acts of Art Adventure. Examples such as Seth Apter’s The Altered Page and the Art Therapy Alliance’s Art Therapy Blog Index are also highlighted. The chapter offers an overview about how online activity in the form of collaboration, blogging, and social media sites can foster creative opportunities and encouragement.

I know I have inspired by so many creatives online and I am grateful for this connection! It was fun to write this chapter and I thank Rick for the invitation to be included in his book with such an amazing group of art therapy colleagues doing such great work related to digital art therapy.

I hope if the topic of digital art therapy interests you, you will check the book out!  🙂

Related Posts:

Implications of National Trends in Digital Media Use for Art Therapy Practice

Cultivating Creativity, Connection & Community | TEDx Ursuline College

Exploring Internet Based Platforms with Digital Art-based Approaches

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Creative Deeding in Action

October 13, 2016

This past month has seen much creative deeding!  The Hope-filled Postcard Art Exchange that Nancy Lautenbach and I organized went super well with almost 100 participants swapping art across the US, Canada, Europe, Australia, and Asia— You can check out some of the postcard art submitted on the 6 Degrees of Creativity Facebook page and on Instagram — So much hopeful energy and positive vibes shared through the handcrafted images made specifically for this collaborative effort! These blog posts from art therapists who participated in the exchange described more about their process: Carolyn Mehlomakulu’s  The Power of Hope-filled Art  and Sally Swain’s Clouds of Hope.  Thank you to everyone who contributed to this project!

I also recently received word that undergraduate art therapy students at Millikin University implemented their own creative deed project for their Materials and Methods class, inspired by last year’s 365 project.  It was awesome to learn about their efforts from their instructor, art therapist Serena Duckrow and to see the art and creative goodness they were spreading to others on their campus.

 Millikin University Creative Deeds

In addition to the art that was made for the project, the students also used photography, video, and video editing to document the experience. They really valued the role that digital media played in their process. I love the idea of video being part of the project and seeing the different locations creative deeds were released. Below is a video that the students made to showcase their project, which they called #MUCreativeDeed. Enjoy this dose of uplifting art and messages of encouragement, self care, and support….

What is great about creative deeding is that anyone, anywhere, anytime can do it! Creative deed on! 🙂

 

 

 

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3 Good Things Takeaway: Creative, Messy, Contained Workshop

June 14, 2016

I had a great time at Lani Gerity‘s workshop this past week-end at the Mid Atlantic Play Therapy Institute: Visual Art Journaling for Teens and Adults in Treatment: Creative, Messy, and Contained.

creativity in motion

The day was an artful exploration of resilience building, flourishing, intention setting, strength reflection, and lots of creative goodness to fill our handmade art journals that we made from hanging file folders, basic manila file folders for the signature pages inside, and a simple pamphlet stitch to bind it all together.

3 Good Things Takeaway: Creative, Messy, Contained Workshop | creativity in motion

I really enjoyed using the various supplies I brought in my mobile art stash– as well as sharing them with my tablemates so they could experiment with them in different ways. It was very inspiring to work in this community. We even did a table exchange of mini art in the form of artist trading cards, index cards, and craft tags to honor the concept of art as a gift, one of Lani’s prompts to explore practicing kindness and sharing joy with others through our art.  I was lucky to be gifted this art from Mary during our table exchange:

creativity in motion

Art as a Gift

 Upon returning home, as I was unpacking my supplies, handouts, and art from the workshop, I reflected on Lani’s teachings from the day prior and the power of art making to help us cope in distressing and challenging times.

This reflection also prompted me to summarize a list of 3 good things (so many to choose from!) from content introduced during the workshop- and ways to help instill hope, gratitude, and self-care into our lives:

  • Three Blessings Exercise– Dr. Martin Seligman suggests this practice as a way to foster well-being and decrease depression.  This exercise encourages us to make note of three things (for one week) what went well throughout our day and to reflect on why they went well (i.e. “why did this happen?”). According to the research of Dr. Seligman, focusing (and dwelling) on our blessings (what is good, going right with life) helps increase our well-being and decreases anxiety, depression that dwelling on bad events can actually make a lot worse. Lani puts an art-based spin to this exercise by suggesting to create art about three good things (collectively in one image or in separate images).  In one of Lani’s Happy Artist’s Life Workshops a few years ago for 6 Degrees of Creativity I even made a Pinterest board to collect images and content inspired by things that made me happy.  Re-visiting this board made me thankful that I created it— and maybe it is a good time to start adding to it again.
  • Daily Creative Practice– Citing the work and practice of art therapy pioneer Edith Kramer, Lani shared that creating art everyday helps guide skillfulness (mastery). This type of practice has a direct connection to nurturing our resilience, regulation, and inspiring us to be and do the best that we can.  I love that this reminder was included as part of the day’s offerings- and very much agree with these findings!
  • Sensory Relief Art- This prompt (originally to create an image representing a mini vacation and to incorporate the senses) inspired a collage that was connected to the importance of self-care, focusing on the here & now, and finding refuge & breathe in this space. I used a photograph of an old collage I created, pieces of torn (blue) magazine pages, distressed ink, and paint pens. Lots of relief in this image!
3 Good Things Takeaway: Creative, Messy, Contained Workshop | creativity in motion

Self-Care © 2016 gretchen miller

Thanks to the Lani, all the participants I met at the workshop, and the small group of fellow art journalers that I worked with throughout the day.  I look forward to incorporating content we learned into my groupwork and adding it to my art journaling ideas and inspiration.

Related Posts:

Happy Artist’s Life Art Journaling (VIDEO)

The Art of Emotional Resilience

Journey to Resilience: Takeaways and Creative Offerings

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