Creativity – Out of the box?

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In the previous article, I had shared my experience with expressive therapies. I spoke about my anxieties & how I curbed my unrealistic expectations

Another revelation– I did not change my stance on my own; I read something that helped me calm down! When I used to hear the word ‘Creativity’, one phrase would invariably pop up in my mind –“out of the box”. With the expectation of making the four sessions creative and thus something different, I spent a couple of days designing ‘extraordinary’ sessions. An article by Samuel T. Gladding on the ‘Impact of Creativity in Counseling’ helped me in understanding that creativity is subjective, unique and wonderful in each and every sense and form.

In the following write up, I have attempted to present the key ideas brought out by the writer. This is followed by my critical evaluation, personal opinion and reflection regarding the same.We create because we are — we are expressing our ‘being alive’ through creating something

Creativity is “the ability to produce work that is both novel (original or unexpected) and appropriate (useful or meets task constraints) (Sternberg & Lubart, 1995)

Rollo May explains creativity as a journey which is boundless and never ending. It allows one to touch one’s own self, one’s ‘real self’; an untouched and fascinatingway to see reality. A person’s true essence is in being creative.

In this article, the writer shifts the lens of creativity from being specific to a universal one. He also suggests that creativity is natural. Talking about history, the ones who were not able to adapt to the new environment and circumstances could not continue. Though often taken for granted, it has helped one to survive, evolve and thrive (Richard, 2007). He draws the readers’ attention towards the efficacy of creativity in bringing about necessary advancements.

We should trust our own madness

The writer brings about how the legacy of the counseling profession has been so creative. He cites examples of Freud and how he stood by his creative ideas irrespective of the societal opposition. He praises Roger for his creative person centered approach. He also appreciates Ellis’s and Bowen’s cleverness and creative spirit. Frey (1975) suggests, “In the broadest sense, counseling is actually a creative enterprise within which the client and the counselor combine their resources to generate a new plan, develop a different outlook, formulate alternative behaviors and begin a new life.”

Within the realm of counseling, he speaks about how the clients and their situations require creativity, time, talent and intentionality. He points out towards the importance of creativity in the counseling profession and suggests that it needs to be celebrated, encouraged and cultivated. He speaks about how important it is for the profession to advance creatively in order to avoid stagnation.


The way the writer simplifies creativity and brings it down from a pedestal is interesting. He views creativity as essential but natural too. Thus, pointing towards the fact that everyone is naturally able to be creative and should become one. Also, since it is natural, it is subjective too and therefore any creative act should not be forced to ‘fit’ in any model, neither should there be an aim where creativity should reach!

It is intriguing how the writer has been able to link creativity and counseling theories beautifully. I feel that I have always respected and applied the ideas given by the theorists. However, I have never pondered upon the creativity of their contributions. And also never appreciated the courage that all of them exhibited.

The writer expresses the strength of creativity in counseling! He does not only speak about the importance of expressive therapies but also suggests various ways in which professionals should expand their horizons.

Before reading this article, my understanding of ‘creativity’ was skewed. I felt great pressure and under confidence while planning the sessions. His writing helped me plan my sessions better, relieved my anxieties and also allowed me to appreciate our efforts more the client’s and mine.

Although, his idea of creativity as solely having a direct impact on advancement seems deterministic, it does motivate the readers to be adept with knowledge and use creative techniques!

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