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  • Laurie Thorp

The Healing Power of Creativity

Collage has been a portal into deeper self-knowing

There are at least a million (no, I don’t really exaggerate much) doorways into healing. And Creativity is one very powerful, deeply nourishing path toward our internal healing.

For many years, I have had lunch weekly with my friend Sue. We have been the best of friends since I was 18 years old. We have shared the depths of our lives, struggles, joys, and sorrows. We have talked about poetry, books, ideas...

Sue is an artist, a teacher and, what she calls, a “creativity facilitator.” She has taught “Accessing Your Creativity” to women for about 20 years. One day, after lunch, Sue spontaneously said, “Let’s make a collage!”


“Who me? I can’t make a collage!”

That day changed my life.

What I discovered that day is that images can express feelings and thoughts in ways that words never can. Images call to the right side of the brain. Images bypass language and go straight to the heart of the matter. What I also learned is that the creative process, in and of itself, is healing. Art is transformation.

Research has shown that the creative process heals by changing a person’s brainwaves, by affecting one’s autonomic nervous system – shifting us from the sympathetic nervous system (fight, flight or freeze) to the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest). The body’s physiology changes from one of stress to one of deep relaxation.

The Creative Process can affect every cell in the body instantly to create a healing physiology that changes the immune system and blood flow to all the organs. It can change a person’s perceptions of their world, attitudes, emotional states, and pain perception. Creativity can open us to hope and transform our outlook and way of being in the world. It unites body, mind, and spirit.

Creativity is not limited to “the special people,” the artists. Every one of us has an innate creative spirit that is just waiting for us to open to it and allow it to flow.


“Creativity is our birthright.”

- Dr. Ruth Richards

For the last 12 years, I have been using collage as one of my healing mediums. Through my collage work, I have discovered new aspects of myself; I have found resolution in issues that had been troubling me. I have created images that are soothing to my sense of being. I have expressed, and found healing around, very painful life circumstances.

Collage has been a portal into deeper self-knowing. As soon as I begin scanning through magazines, photography books, art books, postcards, tearing out any image that calls to me, I am transported into the healing vortex.

Graham Greene said, “Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose or paint can manage to escape the madness, the melancholia, the panic fear which is inherent in a human situation."

I encourage you to engage in your healing process by accessing your creativity, in whatever form it takes, and even if you think you are not creative or can’t sing, draw, dance.

Just choose one thing.

  • Take pen and paper in hand and doodle. Let the lines flow, one into another.

  • Sing your heart out. Sit down at a piano and simply put your fingers on the keys and listen to the sounds that resonate out.

  • Move, dance, sway and leap.

  • Tear images out of magazines and just glue them down in paper.

By using the power of creativity, we can transform darkness into light, heal, and lead happier lives.


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