I attended a Creative Engagement Therapy (CET) Session in Bribie to understand What Ruth and Joh (the therapists) do.
Before I did a CET session, I did have some prejudice (sorry!) around my expectations of what I thought it was. When I heard the term ‘Creative Engagement Therapy’ before I knew who Ruth & Joh were and what it was, I was taken straight back to the school counsellor, who made me write all my negative feelings on paper and then rip it up for ‘freedom’ from those feelings. It did nothing for me but make me feel stupid. This is what I kind of thought CET was, and it could not be further from that.
Going into the session, I felt nervous and a little sick. I was anxious to talk about my feelings and had no idea what emotions would be brought to the table. The other participants and I had time to talk beforehand, which helped ease me into the session. I joined in on session 3/3, and the other participants were already acquainted. They did well to make me feel welcomed. Joh started the session off with some drumming which prompted us to talk about our morning. It was a great way to feel more relaxed and get you in the right headspace for the session. I appreciated that we did not dive straight into the main exercise of the session and had time to relax.
After the drumming, Ruth ran through what our activity would be. We each would pick a stick that represents our resilience. We then could decorate it however we wanted. We had several materials to choose from, including pipe cleaners, streamers, beads, words cut out from magazines, printed-out quotes, glitter, wire, + many more options.
The table was bright and colourful. The wide range of materials was delightful as everyone chose what resonated most with them. It is amazing how everyone interpreted the materials differently. A pipe cleaner can have 1000 different meanings if you give it to 1000 separate people. There was truly something for everyone.
I didn’t think I would be so emotional decorating a stick, but boy was I wrong. When you are given the time and permission to stop and think about how you feel, especially about yourself, it can be overwhelming and a headspace humans aren’t often in.
Ruth and Joh helped me release negative feelings about myself I didn’t even know were lingering with me every day. I felt safe crying in front of everyone, and the support from the other participants was very heart-warming.
I felt honoured to hear the other participants talk about their resilience and the reasoning behind how they decorated their sticks. One of the many beautiful things about CET is how each person interprets the activity. No two sticks were remotely the same, and we all (in my opinion) received a different benefit from the session.
Another beautiful aspect of CET is that you only share what you’re comfortable with sharing. Some, like me, chose to share personal information with the group; others only shared snippets. No one felt pressured and what was shared flowed naturally.
Driving home felt surreal. I was still processing all the emotions I had just gone through. Although I felt slightly embarrassed for crying and being that much of an emotional mess, I felt SO GOOD. I felt like an anxious pressure had been lifted from my chest. I still was processing how decorating a stick made me feel so many things.
I now know just how valuable Creative Engagement Therapy is. It is a place to connect with others, but more importantly, a place to connect with yourself.
You don’t need to have a reason to go to therapy. Being a human is hard. Showing up to work every day can be a challenge. Being emotionally available to others is draining. Life can feel overwhelming. Therapy helps.
I highly recommend Creative Engagement Therapy to anyone in any walk of life. I can’t describe with words how incredible I felt afterwards (and still do now thinking about it!). It is healthy to let out how you feel and something we all don’t do enough.
How to book:
Referrals for Clients in HomeCare can be made through the CSC of their region. CSCs fill in a CET referral form and email through to email@example.com.
Categorised in: BallyCara Blog
This post was written by Jane Hedges