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Creativity as a Method for Healing

By Ash Rathwell (they/them), DVN Adult Program Manager

When was the last time you engaged in a creative activity to process difficult feelings?

Maybe you were feeling grief, so you picked up the watercolor paints that stayed stored away in a closet and guided the paintbrush through a series of strokes that emulated the pain in your heart.

Maybe the only way you could release the frustration held in your body was by picking up a pen and paper and scribbling until your heart felt a little lighter.

Or maybe, in a moment where everything felt so out of control, you gathered the ingredients of your favorite meal and created that for yourself.

THESE EXPERIENCES MAY OR MAY NOT RESONATE WITH YOU, but they all share the common thread of creativity as a method for processing difficult feelings, and releasing those feelings through the creative process.

Personally, creativity has always been something that I am passionate about. Throughout my life, I have always loved dancing, creating music, and using whatever supplies I could get my hands on to make something new.


Creativity is also a vulnerable act, and sometimes it can be difficult to engage with the creative process, especially when we hold high – even unrealistic – expectations to create something perfect.

Throughout my life, I have heard so many people share that “they aren’t a creative person”. This always makes me so sad, because in many ways I feel that creativity has been taken from us and held up on a pedestal.

Essentially, creativity has been presented as something to achieve or work towards, when truly we are all creative individuals as we are at this moment.

Perfection is unattainable, so what would it look like if we released the need for our creations to be perfect? What if we created for the sake of enjoying the act of creating itself? 

This is part of why I am so excited for a program that I am a part of at DVN this year called Project HEAL.

Through collaboration with our fantastic intern who is studying art therapy, we are developing creative workshops to bring into the community to offer up the process of creation as a healing and mindful practice.

Each workshop has a unique focus, with the goal of guiding participants through the creative process as well as prompts to engage with mindfulness while they create. 


I am a firm believer that the process of healing itself is a creative act, and due to this it should be approached in creative manners. Healing is relative, and we all need different supports and processing methods to engage in the healing process. 

I am so excited to be a part of these workshops, and to see the beautiful creations from our community members! 


Have questions or concerns about Project HEAL? Submit the form above and ask away! Or, email Graci Calloway at


By Ash Rathwell (they/them), DVN Adult Program Manager, March 21st, 2024, Domestic Violence Network (DVN)