Third Tuesday of the month, September through June, 7:30 PM
3715 Alton Place, NW, Washington, DC 20016

Our group views creativity as a capacity that is integral to being human, although the ability to express that creativity may be developed to differing degrees. Our readings have built up a body of thinking about creativity that draws on classical, self psychological, and relational theories. The group shares some responsibility for suggesting topics and readings related to these issues, and collaborates in inviting researchers and artists to join us to discuss their process.

Members who attend this study group will be able to:

  1. Describe the role of creativity in the grieving process after seeing The Year of Magical Thinking, a play based on a book about the loss of the author Joan Didion’s husband.
  2. Compare this to theories about grieving described by theorists such as Kubler-Ross and Lindemann.
  3. Explore the Common Threads use of story cloths in the treatment of women who have experienced gender based violence.
  4. Identify several ways in which this method enhances trauma treatment especially when the clinician does not share the culture or language of the patient.
  5. Using Press’s self-psychologically informed theories of dance in The Dance of Self, explore the work of dancer Bill T. Jones. Explain how this may inform your clinical practice.
  6. After reading his memoir, discuss Jones’s use of his dancing body as an expression of his experience as a gay man. Explain how this may inform your clinical practice.
  7. Observe the significance of personal narrative in the lives of the characters in the Wim Wenders film Wings of Desire, using Michael White’s theories about the importance of story and of dual listening in the therapy hour. Explain how this may inform your clinical practice.
  8. Discuss the function of the individual therapist and of group members as witnesses in light of insight gained from viewing the film and reading Wenders’s commentary.
  9. Having critiqued Mark Doty’s autobiography Fire Bird, explore the ways his creative process allowed him to come to terms with a troubled history. Explain how this may inform your clinical practice.
  10. Apply the assumption implicit in his statement “the act of making a poem requires that someone’s listening” to the relationship between therapist and patient.
  11. Discuss the development of a sense of personal and cultural identity (“who I am and how I fit into the world”) after viewing the Yo Yo Ma documentary The Music of Strangers. Apply these insights to the challenge of helping patients grapple with this question.
  12. Describe, in self-psychological terms, the process by which Helen MacDonald, the author of H Is for Hawk, uses her knowledge of falconry and her relationship with her hawk to grieve the death of her father. Determine ways, in the clinical situation, to distinguish between grief and clinical depression.
  13. After viewing Out of Our Heads: A Male Journey into the Heart, a film by Allen Moore, and hearing Moore discuss the film, identify issues that arise for men who are depressed and conditions in the culture that may contribute to the incidence of depression in men.
  14. Using clinical examples, compare the group approach depicted in the film to various methods used by clinicians in the study group. Explain how this may inform your clinical practice.
  15. After viewing Linn Meyers’s installation at the Hirshhorn, and attending several gallery talks, discuss the parallels between the creative process involved in making her mural with the creative process in a therapy session, focusing on such elements as the balance between plan and spontaneity, theory and interaction, boundary and improvisation.
  16. Apply Hagman’s theories about the self-object function of viewing and collecting art to the experience of the collectors of art at the Glenstone Museum and the Barnes Museum, through visiting Glenstone and reading the writings of Albert Barnes. Explain how this may inform your clinical practice.
  17. Using clinical examples and reading Yalom, discuss ways in which the therapist can help patients develop and deepen their sense of self through the experience of altruism.