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March 21 , 2010

Art Heals: How Creativity Cures the Soul

How Creativity Cures the Soul


The field of art therapy is discovering that artistic expression can be a powerful means of personal transformation and emotional and spiritual healing. In this book, Shaun McNiff, a leader in expressive arts therapy for more than three decades, reflects on a wide spectrum of activities aimed at reviving art's traditional healing function. In chapters ranging from "Liberating Creativity" and "The Practice of Creativity in the Workplace" to "From Shamanism to Art Therapy," he illuminates some of the most progressive views in the rapidly expanding field of art therapy:

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Imagination in Action

He’s spent a career helping people access their creative potential, and now Shaun McNiff is sharing the secrets he’s learned from observing his own creative process as well as that of others—both those who identify as artists and those who don’t. The result is nothing less than a master class in creativity by one of the great creative…

  • The "practice of imagination" as a powerful force for transformation
  • A challenge to literal-minded psychological interpretations of artworks ("black colors indicate depression") and the principle that even disturbing images have inherent healing properties
  • The role of the therapist in promoting an environment conducive to free expression and therapeutic energies
  • The healing effects of group work, with people creating alongside one another and interacting in the studio
  • "Total expression," combining arts such as movement, storytelling, and drumming with painting and drawing
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