Natalie Rogers' new book explores expressive arts for social change
“Creativity is like freedom: once you taste it, you cannot life without it. It is a transformational force, enhancing self-esteem and self-empowerment.” -- Natalie Rogers
Natalie Rogers, PhD, founder of the transformational Creative Connection® system of person-centered expressive arts has published an all-in-one guide to group facilitation titled: The Creative Connection for Groups ~ Person-Centered Expressive Arts for Healing and Social Change, which, I believe, has the power to impact personal and global transformation and healing.
Every step of her unique, intermodal expressive arts process is explained in a way which allows readers to take part in the exercises as if they were participating in a workshop intensive. The tools, procedures, and resources designed to initiate creative action have all been included, making it a ‘must have’ book for anyone ready to stimulate growth through expressive creative action. This book is a soulful wake-up call for a world in crisis which requires new ways of seeing, acting, and being to begin the journey toward peace through community engagement. Natalie Rogers writes: “Using creative expression to get acquainted with oneself – one’ values, thoughts, feelings, hopes, and dreams – is imperative in today’s world” (p. 4). The next step – using expressive arts to build community and move in the direction of inner and world peace – is the goal closest to Rogers’ heart. The underlying theme of the book is encouragement of expressive arts being used in groups as a vehicle for personal growth, transpersonal work, and building a sense of belonging and community (Rogers, 2011, p. 208).
The book is divided into 3 sections:
- Part I covers the theories and concepts incorporated into person-centered expressive arts, and outlines Rogers’ unique system which weaves together movement and expression to fully awaken creativity and consciousness. Carl Rogers’ philosophies for working with groups, in addition to step-by-step facilitation guidelines Natalie Rogers developed over the past 35 years doing this work around the world, are also included.
- Part II looks at the way groups work. In this section the author shares nearly every aspect of a typical facilitation. She details the processes and guidelines from saying ‘hello’ to facilitating closure, as well as managing the ‘hard’ emotions and ‘shadow’ moments which are bound to appear. Specific examples are shared and participant perspectives are peppered throughout.
- Part 3 is a showcase of the work person-centered expressive arts practitioners are doing with different populations nationally and internationally. It is a beautiful testimony to the power of this work to heal and make a positive difference. The exercises and meditations in this book, applied, can be transformational. This text is as much an ‘expressive arts tool kit’ as it is a guide for multi-modal group facilitation. The resource section is another priceless addition.
I am so grateful to Dr. Rogers for sharing her life’s work in a way which is as enlightening as it is easy to read and understand. As a teacher of Creative Process, I can attest to the importance of weaving together movement, self-reflection, and expression as a way of activating creative potential. The techniques shared in this volume have wide applications for personal and professional growth, creativity enhancement, and building a community of conscious change leaders. One of the most exciting aspects of my PhD program at Saybrook University is the opportunity to incorporate the two-year Person-Centered Expressive Arts Therapy Certificate. The next cohort begins in January 2013. Visit www.Saybrook.edu for additional information. I’d love to know if you found this book review helpful.
Today Saybrook is home to many of the leading contemporary scholars studying creativity, including Ruth Richards, Editor of Everyday Creativity, and Steven Pritzker, Co-editor of the Encyclopedia of Creativity. Together, they are creating a community that helps students interested in studying every aspect of creativity, including the traditional arts as well as a variety of other fields such as organizational creativity and social transformation become scholars in their own right.
Steven Pritzker, Director of the creativity studies program, stated: "Saybrook's rich history and unique program has helped us attract a faculty that includes some of the foremost writers and researchers in the world. Students working on their thesis or dissertations will be able to work with leading scholars such as Mark Runco, Sandy Russ, Louis Sass or Dean Keith Simonton." For an overview of Saybrook’s new PhD in Psychology+Creativity visit: http://saybrook.typepad.com/forum/2012/01/saybrook-university-introduces-phd-program-focusing-on-creativity-studies.html
-- Marta Davidovich Ockuly, Saybrook PhD Psychology+Creativity Student