Art and Creativity in Private Practice, with Lisa Ruth Mitchell

Author Spotlight Lisa Ruth Mitchell-2.png

Lisa Ruth Mitchell and I recently discussed the story of her book, Creativity As Co-Therapist. As part of our conversation, Lisa details how she began serving therapists at her practice, Inner Canvas.

She candidly explains therapists' view of self-care, in her experience, as well as how to create a community based on something you love, in this clip.

View the video, or read the transcript, below. (3m 47s).

That also brings me to, well, what's the story of how you got to teaching therapists about the creative process?

You know looking back on my career, that's such a sort of an organic process. I mean, it was a creative emergence.

So, I spent 10 years in community mental health--did a lot of really intense work with the county mental health system and Medical in California. It's the low income really, really, really hard cases here. And, I was ready to be in private practice. 

I had three kids at that point and I was like: I am just not gonna be a good mom with all of that I'm having to deal with. So, I was faced with having to network and market my private practice.

So, I just decided that I thought people should pay me to market to them, and the way that I figured out that could happen was, I could invite really cool people (and most of the therapists--I mean most of my friends are therapists and they're really cool people) to make art with me, and tell them about what I do.

So I started, you know, and and then give them an incentive that they get continuing education in order to come.

So, art was already your playground? You were like, come do it with me! (Aside: Kind of like me and the book club guys. I'm gonna do this anyway.) 

I had it more like it was self-care. I never marketed it as self-care because therapists, darnit, we therapists don't come for self-care. And that is just a really tragic, awful thing. So you have to trick therapists: It's good for your clients. And then oh, it's really good for you, too. 

So they would come learn about art, so they could use it for their clients, but have to use it for themselves as the experience, fall in love with that--fall in love with the space, sharing with each other, common kindred spirits, you know, the sense of belonging. It's all feel good.

And, when you nurture the creative process--I mean, that's what we started to find out--when you nurture the creative process through art, or other creative endeavors, you become a more creative therapist. It's just, it translates like that without even having to try. 

Yeah, it's such a good example of how following just who you are in your business is going to bring you joy and longevity.

For sure. I was just thinking about that, and I was writing a little blog post about that in that sense of like, that idea of belongingness. And, you know, if you don't have it.

But, I mean, I'm a weirdo. Who wants to come make art with somebody? I mean, I didn't know anybody else who wanted to do that. The other people want to go for walks, or go to movies. It's like: Oh, I want to make art, you know?

And, if you don't have that, then why not create a community where that's naturally going to happen? And then the sense of belongingness comes to you and it's really--it's a really beautiful thing. 

Creativity As Co-Therapist was a recent read in The Refreshed Therapist Book Club. Learn more about the book club, or register below to be notified when it opens.