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Books and Articles

Forming the Pearl: Creative/Receptive Expressive Therapy:

Process Applications With Adults Who Have Been Sexually Abused

Process Applications with Adults Who Have Been Sexually Abused

Buy it at Amazon


[Chapter 4, Follow the Yellow Brick Road, Enneagrams]


Excerpt from "Forming the Pearl"


The metaphor of the oyster, who transforms the trauma of a piece of sand or grit inside its shell by surrounding it with nacre and forming a pearl, describes the healing process of individuals who have been wounded as they journey towards enrichment and illumination. Their spiritual journey is one of transforming the grit to a pearl through moving from a victim/survivor to a thriver/activist/victor and then to an adventurer/pilgrim/traveler/explorer.

The Creative Receptive Expressive Therapy (CRET) process is based on the complimentary aspects of yin/yang as active and passive imagery, and the middle way as process, with a transpersonal and soul centered philosophy. Woven throughout the process are the creative arts along with archetypal themes and imagery, and the theories of Gurdjieff and the Enneagram. It also utilizes the mind/body/cellular link as developed by Rossi (1986, 1993) and combined with Ericksonian hypnotherapy, neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) and the various sensory or process channels.

Expressive Therapy is an eclectic blending of more than one creative arts process utilized in therapy and for personal growth and development, and appears to have its roots in shamanism. McNiff (1988) sees the shaman as an archetypal figure for what creative arts therapists do in therapy where the focus is on experience rather than concept and is balanced with nature. The shaman is a "prototypical healing figure...and has always been a multi disciplinary practitioner--a holistic healer. A shaman never specializes in only music, or art, or dance, or drama. Instead he or she naturally integrates all of these elements into practice" (Moreno, 1988, p. 273).

Creative arts includes, but is not limited to the utilization of myths, metaphors, stories, and folklore; the making of art by painting, drawing, sculpting; drama and rituals; music, both passive listening and active doing (through body participation, i.e. playing a musical instrument, singing, clapping hands); movement/dance (from Ti Chi to sacred kalana hula); journaling, writing stories, prose and poetry; and the ability to use natural hypnotic trance states in the creative therapy process.

Rather than interpreting the process or product, the therapeutic model of CRET is one of exploration, interaction, appreciation and acceptance of both process and product to achieve transformation. Discernment or keen insight and contemplation, are utilized instead of interpretation, which implies judgment of the product or process. It is a harmonious reflection and inter-relationship of the creative process (content) and receptive product (form) through exploration, interaction, appreciation, and acceptance of the dance/movement/song/

poem/painting/scribble that engages our head, heart and gut in an imaginal healing process of great depth. It means making the invisible visible, bringing out the hidden wisdom and treasures within. The oyster explores and interacts with the sand (blocks), appreciating and accepting the nacre (process) and the formation of the pearl (wisdom).

The process of Creative Receptive Expressive Therapy "utilizes the creative arts with creative/receptive imagery to provide a means of centering and finding the inner/observer self. Breath work and music are used to guide participants to a state of relaxation to produce peace-full-ness and balance. The imagery is then used to promote intimacy with the inner observer self by exploring inner symbology and expressing it externally through creative arts rituals. The image manifests on the physical plane through making art, bodywork and movement, poetry, making music, telling stories, etc. In this way, inner being/attention can be linked to outer doing/attention to heal vulnerabilities and facilitate the creative flow" (Livingston-Dunn, 1995, p. 26).

Healing may be facilitated at the mind/body/cellular level by Expressive Therapy where integration of more than one creative arts modality is utilized in therapy. In addition, the creative receptive model of Expressive Therapy utilizes both active and passive styles of imagery which act as a bridge or link between primary process and secondary process thinking so that the imagery may be dealt with in its raw form and transformed to positive ways of handling life's problems. Imagery is used in the broad sense of including the process channels of visual, auditory, proprioceptive, kinesthetic and cognitive. When imagery is combined with the creative arts, such as bodywork, music and art making, different process channels are activated to integrate both the right and left brain and the body/mind, which may take place at a cellular level in a softer, more beneficial way.

The creative arts are a form of ritual activity and celebrate creativity and the enrichment of human potential. The arts compliment and interact with each other to unify play and imagination through all the sensory process channels. Music primarily utilizes the auditory channel, while the emphasis in dance is on the kinesthetic or sensory motor channel. Theater uses auditory, kinesthetic and visual; poetry uses auditory and visual. Although it is apparent that the visual arts uses the visual process channel, the kinesthetic process channel is equally important not only in the process of making the art, but in the movement of the colors and forms on canvas, for example. This is also true of the other creative arts.

The three centers (gut, heart, head) and personality types of the Enneagram are utilized as an archetypal guide to blend the three paths of the journey, that is, the path of action (gut), path of love (heart), and the path of wisdom (head) into the fourth way of Gurdjieff where all three paths are combined, for creative transformation (Ouspensky, 1949,1957). These three paths or centers, also contain process channels that are combined through the creative arts to promote intimacy with one's true essence through compassion, love and wisdom.

Expressive Therapy encompasses "pathology" by working with removing blocks for wholeness and harmony. The way is through the wound/shadow/addiction/poison/sand where this poison/sand/block becomes the medicine/nacre/process that forms the pearl/elixir/soma/nectar. It is utilized:

To access, process and integrate traumatic memories

For expressing emotions and catharsis

To release stress and tension

To integrate split off parts of self

As a prelude or rehearsal for future actions

To increase self esteem and develop a healthier self concept

To foster empowerment, containment, exploration, and expression

To facilitate clarity of mind

To develop or unblock creativity and imagination

To seed hope and utilize inner resources

For integration of mind/body/cell

As a path to meditation

As a connection to spirituality.

Activation of hidden creative resources forms a connection with the transcendent source of power and sustenance for the extraordinary action of static activity (receptive creativity) and dynamic passivity (creative receptivity). Following the process or path of gentle beauty to the next challenge and grave danger is realized through a deep trust in one's inner observer self.

The process of art has been connected to meditation (Cox, 1992) and to altered states of awareness (Lachman-Chapin, 1985). Meditation facilitates an expanded awareness and increases feelings of clarity and peace of mind, while it decreases body mind stress (Dychtwald, 1977). Perhaps the ultimate goal of enrichment in therapy is to teach/learn meditation and how to change levels of consciousness so that one can enter any state at will, find information and rechannel it (Joy, 1979).



Enjoy the art of my Grandchildren

and a short poem



Sammi's Photo

Jessica's art work???

Dear John

If we see the world

Through ugly eyes,

The world will be 


If we see the world 

Through beautiful eyes

The world will be


The only choice we have

Is how we see the world.

Only we can choose.

Choose wisely.






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