Contact details
The Old Printworks,
1 Commercial Road,
BN21 3XQ

07752 211 933

Creative Therapy

Deep Release Counselling

I have had many years of training in creative counselling.

Creative Counselling encompasses many ways of looking at and working with the "Human Condition" in Mind, Body and Spirit.
In essence, trying to touch the un-conscious and bring it into the conscious. Using the “here and now” and the immediacy of the moment. Working collaboratively together in order to form a solid and safe working relationship in and around the intersubjective space between client and counsellor.

Working creatively is multi layered, working from the moment the male sperm enters the female egg to;

•    Conception to birth journey
•    Cycles of a child’s growth
•    The resulting attachment styles
•    The true and false self
•    The hurt-free-wild or adapted child and subsequent behaviours
•    Parenting styles
•    Over-coming fear and anxiety
•    Anger/anger management
•    Mental Health Disorders
•    Personality disorders
•    Relationships
•    The fractured self.

There are many more areas that creative counselling works in and on, most of which are covered by the many areas on this site and on the Deep Release Web Site.

It is not only the areas that creative counselling work in that are important, it is also about how the client is engaged and worked with, the interventions used and the safe environment in which healing can take place.

There is of course “psycho-education”, but the main thrust of the work is relational and creative.

Using many interventions, such as:

•    Dolls
•    Plastic animals
•    Writing
•    Drawing
•    Painting
•    Reading stories
•    Post/picture cards
•    Duvet work
•    Blanket work
•    Russian dolls
•    Puppet work
•    Journaling
•    Visualisation
•    Conception to birth journey
•    Mindfulness
•    Sand tray and clay work and much more.

Creative therapy has extraordinary power to connect us with our past and, more importantly, with how we felt when we were small.
Unconscious memories and feelings, pain and trauma we have pushed away, rationalised into thoughts in our heads or stored away in body pain, begin to stir and can at last be safely identified, owned and released.
Perhaps our way of dealing with these troublesome emotions was to act them out destructively, tip-trucking our anger onto innocent people or using control and manipulation to try and make our world safe. Exploring these reactions through symbols, pictures, art and craft work, using toys, stones, buttons or clay can provide insight and new ways forward into emotional health.

Working Creatively in Counselling
Creative therapy can often work quite quickly. Place a collection of small dolls or figures in front of a client and family dynamics can emerge in minutes. Using these symbolic tools and fairy tale characters can represent goodies and baddies. They can be used to represent family members, work colleagues, or any group of people you may be having a problem with. We also use Puppets which can convey strength through tough warriors, knights in armour, kings, queens, heroes, villains, victims and other characters.

We use collections of small plastic animals which add a further dimension by providing a great variety of size, shape, texture, style of movement and context (air, sea, underground). An abusive uncle could become a sabre-toothed tiger, the weak mother a mouse and so on. I once used two animals to work on a difficult relationship and realised the other person was like a bee - dripping honey, but with a sting in the tail! With her I became a highly defended armadillo!
Toys, figures and animals can also be used to help a client explore different ‘the different parts of me’.
Maybe identify yourself as a lioness with her cubs, but if that isnt enough, you may need to own the ‘lion’ within you and the strength that this brings to balance out the gentleness.

You may need three or four dolls to explore your child parts including a good girl, (an ‘adapted child’ in TA terms) and another in jeans and t-shirt who may be your free child, or an angry part and so on.
We encourage clients to find a doll to represent their inner child, sometimes clients can be heavily impacted by the importance of the search itself. Often a client and doll will resemble each other, and at times a client may bring in a dirty bar of soap, an empty bottle, a door mat etc.

As we work, a client may change the doll’s (or other representation) appearance to match the feelings about him/her, this can also be very powerful. As Deep Release Counsellors we have seen inner child dolls arrive dirty and ragged, carrying heavy baggage and symbols of pain, sometimes bound up and often hidden away. But over time, with help and healing, a transformation takes place and it is profoundly moving to see how the doll’s new clothes and appearance express the new-found sense of self-worth the client is finding.
We are often asked if this ‘creative stuff’ works with men as well as women. The answer is yes, it does, although I gather men often find it easier to work with animals than dolls!
Using Symbols
We access unconscious areas quickly and effectively because much of creative therapy is about working with symbols. One of the most powerful ways of working I know is to ask a client to think of a fairy tale, and then to draw which scene they can see. Cinderella is often a favourite, but the particular scene may be anything from sitting in the ashes to the stroke of midnight or the fitting of the shoe. The desire for a rescuer, be it a fairy godmother or handsome prince, is another frequent theme. The message of the picture is important and I encourage the client to write it over the picture then add speech bubbles to give all the elements of the picture a voice.
Blocks to Creativity
Some clients are nicely self-propelling. Place a blank sheet of paper in front on them and a bunch of coloured pens, and you can happily leave them to play. I’ve been seeing Lesley (fictitious) for about a year now, and she is a joy to work with as creative therapy is a wonderful journey of discovery for her. She will often sit back in the middle of doing some drawing or working with pictures for instance and say, “This is amazing!” as she makes connections and gains insight through her own work.
But, as we’ve already said, many clients are reluctant to put pen to paper, not least because they fear that what they draw will look ‘pathetic’ or ‘stupid’ or simply wrong, and this often has its roots in childhood.

There is undoubtedly an element of parent-child which can emerge in creative therapy and this may be the first time a client has ever experienced encouragement and approval in this area. So many of us are driven by the desire to ‘get it right’, to please others, to be perfect or at least ‘good’ at something. The best ideas are often our first ideas, those that come unbidden, spontaneous, perhaps a little whacky... the aim is to help clients capture these, explore them and celebrate them.
There are so many issues that can arise at the very thought of doing creative work! Fear of taking risks, fear of failure and fear of looking silly. These are often rooted in shame.  A lack of self-belief, a need to be in control, an inability to play. These feelings alone can provide rich material for weeks of therapy.  But it’s not about artistic ability - in fact, if we have talented artists on our courses we often encourage them to use their non-dominant hand. It’s about expressing feelings, not producing a masterpiece!

This is just a small part of working in releasing deep and buried emotions. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.

 This page has been adapted from various Deep Release material, for more information visit