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:

Semester #1 – September thru January Meetings

1) Participants will read Sarah Blake’s book, The Guest House. After hearing her discuss the book, and after reading an article by Marilyn Meyers, participants will be able to:

a) Discuss the tenacity of a parent’s traumatic experience and its subsequent effects on the children’s lives.
b) Discuss the multigenerational effect of the Holocaust on patients who may present with seemingly unrelated problems.

2) After reading Other Voices, Other Lives, a compilation of the works of Grace Cavalieri, and hearing her and her editor, Rose Solari, discuss the process of collecting the works, participants will be able to:

a) Apply the insights from Cappiello’s article on women, therapy, and creativity to Cavilieri and Solari’s work.
b) Compare the experience of termination in therapy to a retrospective of an artist’s creative oeuvre.

3) After viewing Bonnard to Vuillard: The Intimate Poetry of Everyday Life, and reading about the Nabi movement in art, participants will be able to:

a) Compare the Nabi approach to art to contemporary theories of psychotherapy.
b)Apply these theories to particular cases in which the therapist’s ability to put aside her preconceived notions about patients and their symbols led to greater understanding.

4) After hearing Katherine Gekker read from her new book In Search of Warm Breathing Things and listening to an Eric Ewazen composition based on one of her poems, and after reading an article by Patricia Townsend, participants will be able to:

a) Compare the creativity of the patient in therapy to that of the artist.
b) Discuss the effects of different types of creative expression on both the artist and the patient.

5) After viewing an open rehearsal of the Chamber Dance Project and hearing the artistic director of the company speak, participants will be able to:

a) Describe the advantages of interaction between and among different modalities – dance, music, the spoken word.
b) Compare these kinds of interaction to the value of including an adjunctive therapy (such as art, dance, music or bibliotherapy) in a patient’s therapeutic treatment pan.

Semester #2 – February thru June Meetings

1) After engaging with Olivia Tripp Morrow and her sculptural artwork, and having read Art and the Artist’s Mind, participants will be able to:

a) List what Hagman calls “the three dimensions of the artist’s subjectivity.”
b) Apply an understanding of these dimensions to our work with creative patients.

2) After hearing Hugh Marr talk about his book, A Clinician’s Guide to Foundational Story Psychotherapy: Co-changing Narratives, Co-changing Lives, participants will be able to:

a) Explain how narrative processes underlie all psychotherapies.
b) Explain and apply at least one technique for identifying foundational stories.

3) After seeing A Thousand Splendid Suns at Arena Stage, and reading an article by Alan Shore, participants will be able to:

a) List three factors that Shore considers to be developmental precursors of posttraumatic stress disorder.
b) Describe two ways in which trauma can build strengths as well as create impediments to the capacity for intimate relationship.

4) After listening to the music of Rhiannon Giddens, Charles Mingus, and Allen T, and reading an article by Daniel Stern, participants will be able to:

a) Discuss issues of attachment in infant development.
b) Describe ways in which strivings for identity and connection are seen in the creative processes of musical artists.

5) After reading Silent Cries, Dancing Tears: The Metapsychology of Art Revisited/Revised by Anna Aragno, participants will be able to:

a) Compare and contrast the theories about creativity and the making of art in Aragno’s article.
b) Present and discuss pieces of their own artwork in light of one of these theories.