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ACA 2018 Conference & Expo Sessions

165 - Creativity to Make Counseling Better: The Brain Likes Novelty

Apr 27, 2018 2:00pm ‐ Apr 27, 2018 3:30pm


This session is built on the premise that the brain likes novelty. Presenters will discuss and demonstrate more than 15 creative techniques that make counseling more engaging. The use of simple props, chairs, movement and a whiteboard will be presented. Much of the session will be short demonstrations of creative techniques to use with various populations. Attendees will walk away with ideas they can use the next time they conduct counseling.

G. Zaltman, a Harvard researcher, describes in his book, How Customer’s Think, the idea of creativity aiding in change. Creative counseling can make counseling more engaging. Two major guiding principles for the workshop are: (1) the brain likes novelty and (2) talk to your client’s eyes as well as their ears.  The workshop will focus on a number of novel, creative techniques that have been used by counselors in agencies, treatment centers, schools, and private practice. The creative techniques demonstrated will be connected to some of the major theories in counseling such as CBT, Adlerian, Gestalt Therapy, and Choice Theory (Reality Therapy).  The use of props, chairs, writing, drawing and movement will all be demonstrated. Focus will be on a variety of populations and issues such as anger, low self-esteem, lack of motivation, helplessness, and guilt. A portion of the workshop will focus on using creative techniques to over come resistance held by mandated or unmotivated clients.

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will identify ways to be creative in individual counseling sessions.
  • Participants will list four specific ways to make counseling more engaging.
  • Participants will discuss specific creative techniques that work with difficult, mandated clients.


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