Vlog

How Art Therapy Can Heal You...a conversation with Lillian Shewring and Samia Bano

SAMIA: Hello, Salam, Shalom, Namaste, Sat Sri Akal, Aloha, Holah, Ciao and Bonjour! Guess what everyone?! We have Lillian Shewring back with us, she's a Creative Coach and Intuitive Healer. And last time, we had such a fabulous conversation about how to bring out your creativity and how being more creative can actually help you make change more fun and easy. And I'm so excited to have you back Lillian!

 

LILLIAN: Yay! Thank you so much for having me back, it's a real honor.

 

SAMIA: Yes, I'm so, so, pleased, because, you know, last time we were starting to dig deeper into the benefits of the creative process and all the different ways it can help us. But of course we ran out of time. And one of the really important things I wanted to talk to you about was the more therapeutic benefits and applications of the creative process. Because I know that is something you're very passionate about and you're so good at. So please tell us more.

 

LILLIAN: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, it's really interesting when I talk to people about this, like, as a... I guess, so my title is a Holistic Integrated Creative Arts Therapist. And when I ask people what they think that is and how they think it would benefit them, often there's a kind of... just a misunderstanding or a misinterpretation of like the profundity and the level, like, the depth of how this type of practice can help people. So often they think it's just like, oh you know, it's a fun kind of creative modality that will help people to feel better, you know... But actually there's some really interesting research. And it's in the same vein as the research surrounding meditation and mind body medicine, where when we're in creative flow our brain waves are actually altered, and it is... we're accessing these meditative states. And what that does to our physiology and to our mental health is incredible. When we can deactivate the fight or flight response, or the stress response, in our body and activate the parasympathetic nervous system and go into a state of relaxation and calm, there are a whole host of mental and physiological benefits that occur... like our blood pressure is lowered, our breathing rate slows, our immune function is improved, our digestion is improved… And people aren't aware of that, and it's amazing. Like people, you know, people are aware that, I mean especially if they're in this line of work, there is a kind of awareness that, you know, when you deactivate the sympathetic nervous system and you go into a parasympathetic mode, that it's really beneficial. But people don't really realize that you can access that through creativity and through creative processes, and that's amazing. When you can have those types of conversations with people, their eyes just kind of light up. They're like, "Whoa! Like I can really have those kinds of profound healing transformational experiences through doing fun stuff like arts and creativity and dance and clay work!” ... and yeah...

 

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SAMIA: That is so amazing! And you know what you were saying about the creative process allowing you to sort of become more calm and just have this more... this effect on all these different systems of your body where you're more relaxed and so forth, and that is similar to like the meditative process for example... It just made me think about how when I was learning about energy healing work, one of the most important lessons that we learn as energy healers is how necessary it is for people to be relaxed, in a relaxed state, in order to actually receive the healing and for it to have an impact and an effect on them. Because if you are holding any kind of tension in your body, or stress in your mind, it's sort of like you know, you're holding on to, like, something that you really need to let go of, actually. Because it’s in that letting go that you allow the healing to occur.

 

LILLIAN: Exactly, you need to create that space.

 

SAMIA: Yes! And so it's not even possible according to the energy healing paradigm, it's not even possible for you to heal, like, really proper healing, if you're not relaxed and your body is not relaxed. So however you can do that...

 

LILLIAN: Yeah, and there's actually like a... there's a physiological reason why that can't occur... Because when your body is activated in stress response what that means is all the cells in your body are primed to either fight or flight or fee or flee... sorry. And so your, all of the oxygen and the focus of your energies goes away from these processes that help you to heal, and gets like primed to fight something or flee from something. So your body literally... the cells can't repair themselves when they're activated in that mode. So you have to be disengaged from the sympathetic nervous system in order for your cells to then repair and recover themselves and regenerate. So it's super fascinating that… And you know, I've just sort of listed a few of the benefits right there, but there's an enormous list, a whole host of things that... the way that your body is affected physiologically. And they call it the rest and digest function. I don't know if you've heard that terminology. So when your parasympathetic nervous system is engaged they call it the rest and digest, which means your body can heal. And if you're not in that activated... with the parasympathetic nervous system, your body literally can't heal itself... your cells can't regenerate.

 

SAMIA: Oh, my gosh! Now I'm thinking about another context in which I've been learning about healing, and that's when you are doing health fasting. And according to the health fasting literature that I'm now starting to remember... they are also very insistent on the fact that if you're going to be fasting for health purposes, to improve your health, you can't be going full speed in terms of your work day and your usual normal activities. You have to take time off when you are engaging in the health fast, and relax, and just rest your body. Because just like you were saying, if you're in the work “go-go-go” mode, then that's where your body is putting in all the resources and the energy it has, and it cannot redirect and devote the energy and the resources it has to helping you heal.

 

LILLIAN: Exactly!

 

SAMIA: And so, my gosh! It's like there's a reason why when we get sick, like, when we have a viral infection or a bacterial infection, our body tells us to lie down, there's a reason for that.

 

LILLIAN: Yeah! Yeah, and animals naturally, when they're feeling sick, they will stop being active. They... oftentimes they'll even stop eating and drinking because their bodies are guiding them to to rest and take a break and... so that their bodies can redirect all the energy to healing.

 

SAMIA: Yeah, exactly!

 

LILLIAN: And I guess, like, the applications of that in the real world in terms of, like, how that integrates with working with our mental health... for example the applications in the mental health arena working with anxiety, depression, PTSD... It's incredible the profound transformation that can occur when we allow ourselves to slow down and to access these deeper states of rest and meditation, and through creativity... that we can also access, you know, emotional expression, we can access types of non-verbal communication which is like... reconnects us to these primal states of our psyche and our subconscious which can really help us to heal like a lot of ailments, particularly in the mental health arena… But also looking at as a complementary medicine practice to traditional medicines, if you're using something like holistic integrated creative arts therapy, or arts therapy, alongside these practices, or for example meditation, it's just going to help you to heal so much quicker, you know.

 

SAMIA: Yeah for sure... No, you made another really excellent point… Because as I've shared with you, I'm a trauma survivor. And the specific trauma that I experienced was child sexual abuse. And I know it was true in my case, and I know it's also true in the case of many other survivors, especially child survivors who are traumatized when they're still children... that oftentimes one of the big obstacles they face, that we face in our healing process, is that we're not able to verbalize what we're experiencing. We can't find the words, we may not even have the concepts required to be able to verbalize what we're feeling and what we're needing and wanting. And so in such cases it's absolutely necessary to be able to access some other modality that will allow us to express what we're feeling, needing and wanting. And that's just one more way in which creative art therapy can play a huge role. <

 

LILLIAN: Yeah exactly. And I think there's two components to that as well... one is in the process of doing it, which is extremely cathartic for people who have experienced trauma. Just going through the process of even, with or without prompts, you know... sometimes have...being prompted is/can be very helpful as well... but with or without prompts, just the process of putting into a physical or visual form what's going on inside, and what's going on internally, is extremely powerful in and of itself. But then also as an analytical tool... like, if you're looking at psychoanalytics for example, when you're exploring and engaging with the outcome of the work... So for example, maybe someone painted a picture and that's the outcome of the work, righ. You can then use that as a conversation starter, like… And that nonverbal communication that was created through the process can aid in the verbal communication. So you can then start to have a conversation, you can say, “why did you put this here?” Or “why did you use that color?” Or “what does this mean for you and how do you feel about that?” And so, it's process-based and outcome-based, which is like really powerful for both the client and the practitioner, the therapist or the practitioner.

 

SAMIA: Yes, that is an excellent point. Yeah, that is an excellent point… because yeah... because so much of the healing process, like, you can't manage it on your own. If you don't have the skills and the knowledge of how to heal yourself, how to heal trauma, then it's almost impossible to manage all this on your own. So you have to... but such an excellent point that with this kind of modality not only can it be immensely healing and cathartic as you said while you're in the process, but it's also a great communication tool for whoever is able to help and support you in that process.

 

LILLIAN: Absolutely. And I think also one thing that just came up for me when you were speaking about that is... also I think it's also really important to remember that healing is not the result, it's a process as well. You know like some people, and in my experience as well... I've experienced sexual abuse as well, you know, later on in life... but also it's something that's going to be always in my memory and always in as part of my story and part of my experience. And I don't think I'll ever be able to fully heal from that in a way, I mean like, I feel like I've come to a point of integration of that, where that's now part of my story. And I have a real sense of ownership of that. And I'm not a victim, which is really powerful. And I think creative therapeutic processes have been so powerful for me in integrating that into my psyche and into my story. But it's a continued process…

 

SAMIA: Yeah.

 

LILLIAN: It's like people who are suffering from grief and loss... the point is not to forget, the point is not to completely rid that of your life. The point is to be able to understand and to integrate what that experience means to you, and how you've come through that out the other side, and what you've learned from that, you know. And I think that's a really powerful message or part of the conversation is that it's a continuous journey. It's a continuous process of healing. It's like a day by day practice, you know.

 

SAMIA: Not only is it a continuous process that can be ongoing for decades, maybe your entire life, but the part about forgetting... One of my pet peeves honestly has been like when people talk about "Oh just forget it". And/or when they have... seem to have this expectation that in order for you to be able to heal, you have to be able to forget it. Or if you... in order to like... I was just watching this Indian drama. I won't get into the details of it. But this was exactly part of the storyline where we have this character of this girl who's experienced various traumas and so forth. And basically she's being told, "Will you ever be able to forget what has happened to you? And if you can't forget then how can we trust that when you get into this new relationship with... that you won't bring that trauma in with you and it won't adversely affect this new relationship that you want to create?" And they were like, "You know you can never forget what you have been through... it’s just so traumatic, you have been living with it for so long, you cannot forget... so you better forget about this relationship". And I was like "No!" What an unrealistic expectation and what a misunderstanding of trauma healing!

 

LILLIAN: Totally, totally! And you know something that just came up for me as well just then is... I don't want to forget my trauma. Because the learning that occurred for me in that experience meant that I became a new person. And it's kind of... it's difficult for people to grasp this concept when they've not experienced something like this, or they haven't gone through this type of process where they've learned to heal and forgive and integrate their trauma. But in a way, in a weird way, I'm kind of grateful for my trauma because of the learning. And it's difficult for people to comprehend that, you know. Because it seems like "Oh my gosh, this horrible, awful thing happened to me, why would I be grateful for that?" But actually now, I am... I will never ever allow myself to put myself in a position like that where that can occur to me. So in a way having that experience was so profound that if I ever forgot that, I would probably experience that again, you know. Because I was kind of naïve. And so I don't ever want to forget, because I learned a powerful lesson, do you know what I mean? And so once you come to that point of integration or resolution of an experience like that, you can powerfully say, and step into, "Yes that's part of my story! Yes it was...!" Can I swear in on this channel?

 

SAMIA: Go for it!

 

LILLIAN: Like yes, yes it was fucked up! But I will never ever experience that again because now I know how to navigate that. You know what I mean? Like..

 

SAMIA: Yes, know what you mean, I know what you mean.

 

LILLIAN: And that's so powerful for anyone who is a victim of abuse or trauma or anyone who is a victim... if you can bring in some kind of sense of ownership of, that's part of your story and to really find out what's the key learning, or what's the learning, or how you can transform that fucked up experience into something now... like a silver lining... in a way that's like, that's really powerful for victims of trauma and abuse.

 

SAMIA: It is! And actually that is the key that allows us to transform from victims to survivors, and actually even from survivors to thrivers… and you know, experiencing what's called this “post-traumatic growth”, you know, where you are able to actually go beyond even the point of recovery to becoming even stronger and better off than you are prior to your experience of trauma, and...

 

LILLIAN: Exactly!

 

SAMIA: That all happens because... it's not in spite of or despite the trauma... it's because of the trauma that you're able to experience that growth and...

 

LILLIAN: Exactly, yeah! It's like now through my work I can educate other women on how to avoid that, you know. And if I had never had that experience maybe I wouldn't be empowering so many other women and people in my community, you know. So yeah, you know, it sucks that people have to go through that, or it sucks that I had to go through that. But now I can be the change, you know. I can be the change that, like, it stops with me... you know what I mean? Because I'm no longer going to let that happen to me and the people that I love and the people that I work with, you know... so yeah.

 

SAMIA: Yeah, and you know the other aspect of the learning is that, for example, now I'm thinking about survivors of domestic violence... I worked for four years as a crisis counselor on a domestic violence hotline. And one of the things that I learned that's sort of different in the experience of domestic violence survivors versus a lot of sexual assault survivors is that for a lot of sexual assault survivors, the trauma that they experience is maybe a one-time event. In the case of child sexual abuse it can be more of an ongoing process, but it's still... Well, I won't start generalizing... But for most sexual assault survivors, thank God... it's like a one-time trauma. But with domestic violence survivors, or if you're a survivor of emotional abuse or other kind of abuse that's like ongoing over a period of time, then, you know, you develop a much more complex and layered trauma. And you know it's notoriously difficult to break free of an abusive relationship. And one of the big reasons why it's so difficult to break free is because of this learning process where, you know, actually... at least in America the research that I have seen, it shows that a survivor will make between five to seven attempts to leave the abusive relationship before they are able to actually successfully leave.

 

LILLIAN: Yeah.

 

SAMIA: Because there's so much, there's such a huge learning curve in terms of figuring out, like, what in the world is actually wrong and how to address it and change it, that it takes all that time and all that effort of trying to leave again and again and again and again before you're able to be successful. But once you learn it, like you said Lillian, then you know that lesson for life. And then you can... and then it's just something that you can deal with. So then you don't have to get stuck in that again.

 

LILLIAN: Yeah, for sure. And I guess that's one of the beautiful things about creative arts therapy is that it's process based and you can come back and you can revisit things. And so perhaps through the process one day that'll activate a conversation and a learning and an insight surrounding one aspect, and then the next day a whole host of new insights may be revealed through for you. And even through different processes, like maybe dance may reveal something somatic within your body like an area of pain and how that relates to your mind-body connection or your psychosomatic experience. But then maybe doing something like clay work might reveal something from your childhood that is perhaps an indicator of something, you know. So there's a reason why creative therapy is so powerful... is because it's process based and there's so many different aspects and layers to it that can allow you to uncover all of these different layers within your own psyche, yeah.

 

SAMIA: True, that's so true. And the fact is that the vast majority of people, when you actually do a survey, most people, their best learning methodology is by actually doing... It's not by listening, it's not visual, it's not... it's like I can never pronounce the word... kinesthetic, it's just learn by doing, you know. And so again creative arts provide so many options and an amazing opportunity to learn through doing.

 

LILLIAN: Yeah exactly, yeah absolutely! And I guess, yeah, like we could talk about the benefits and the applications for so long because it's case by case as well. It's like, it's not one-size-fits-all type of solution. It's not like painting a picture is a solution for everyone, you know. And I think that's a really important part of the message is that it's about... so much of the process of being a creative arts therapist is also about being a counselor in listening to what the person's needs are, you know... Like, if you think that if you come in as a therapist and think that, you know, just painting a picture is gonna solve everyone's solutions and they're gonna heal and be transformed, then you're not a real therapist, you know. So I think it's a really humbling experience when you can sit in the role of a counselor and really just, like, listen actively to what the person's story is and to listen to what their needs are. And then you can then go away and craft your solutions of how you think you may best approach this person's particular case. And it's literally case by case because every single person's story is unique and different. And I think that's the beauty of it. And yeah, it's about being able to have, like, this toolkit, so to speak... like a toolkit of resources and creative processes that you can then say, "Okay, I understand what your needs are now. I'm going to grab this tool, I'm going to grab this resource, and I'm going to show you these things". And the whole point is to give agency to the person. It's not about I've got the solution to your needs. It's about helping them to find out what their own solutions are and to give them a sense of personal sovereignty and agency in coming up with their own solutions to their own problems. And that's I think a little bit different to someone, like, maybe a doctor or someone in that, like, kind of role of, like, here's a medicine, this is going to fix you. It's more like, “here's a little taste of lots of different things. Now you decide what's going to work for you”.

 

SAMIA: Right! Yeah… Let's give everything a try and see what works best for you. Because sometimes you don't know and that's all right. And that can be actually part of the fun of going through this kind of process where you just get to experiment and not worry about how good something will look, or will this work or will this not. Because it's just more about being in the moment and staying in that process.

 

LILLIAN: Yeah, exactly. And then like what we said last week is like the play and the discovery, you know, like, coming back to that sense of curiosity is so important. Because it's like when you've experienced trauma or grief or loss, there's so much going on in your body and in your mind. It's like sometimes you don't even know what you need, you know. And so through these different processes you can discover, you can discover what you need. And that's I think the beauty in developing this personal agency and self-sovereignty and learning how to look after yourself, you know. And that's at least my aim as a therapist or as a holistic counselor, is... it's about helping them to discover what they need for themselves, it's a process of self inquiry.

 

SAMIA: Yeah, and that's so wonderful because then, you know that saying, "If you give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. But if you teach him how to fish he can, you know, feed himself for the rest of his life". And so that's kind of like what you're doing is that you are empowering people to learn how to help themselves. And of course you're there to provide them with support, especially in the first stages of their learning process. But really, over time these are tools that now you have forever... Once you've learned them you can use them to help yourself. Yeah, that's so beautiful.

 

LILLIAN: Exactly, yeah. And you know, like, it's so accessible. You know, sometimes going to see a psychotherapist is not so accessible for some people. Or sometimes going to, you know, going to see some kind of high-end like practitioner, you know, that's not always accessible for some people. But making art is... and that's so wonderful, you know. Anyone can practice creativity at any time. And I think that's one of the wonderful things about it is it transcends cultural boundaries, it transcends language, it transcends socioeconomic demographics. And I think that's one of the really powerful things about it as well is it's really accessible to anyone from all walks of life.

 

SAMIA: That's an excellent point. And you know that is making me think about how in many of our communities -- by “our” now I'm thinking about the different communities that I belong to... like Indian community, Pakistani community, Muslim community... where we're coming from cultures where modalities like counseling and therapy, they're really foreign concepts. And there's... actually even so far as they're being introduced... there's still a lot of suspicion and stigma around them where people think, "Oh you have to be crazy if you're going to go to see a therapist, it must be because you're crazy". So it makes it very difficult for people to reach out for that kind of help even if they want it, because they're afraid of the stigma of it. But if we can offer them an alternative like art therapy where they can be like, "Oh I'm just going to class, we're going to do some art"...

 

LILLIAN: Exactly, yeah! And I think that's all part of it. And I think part of where we're heading into the future is reducing the stigma surrounding conversations around mental health. For example, I think is a really important one, you know... And I think we see that a lot more with some of the negative impacts of like COVID for example and all of the social isolation and this kind of, like, pandemic of mental health issues that are arising out of the result of the pandemic. And so I think it's becoming a little bit more mainstream, these conversations surrounding mental health and how important it is and how common it is, you know. And it's like it's almost like everyone has something going on in their mental health. And it's so funny because like in our culture, or at least in our western culture, we're so ready and easy to admit that we might be working on our physical health. Like you know... it's so, like, easy for us to say, "Oh yeah, I've just started going to the gym or I've just started a new diet" or whatever. And that's so common in our society where we can talk about our physical health. But we don't, we don't talk about what we're doing for our mental health... It's like it should be the same, it should be the same. It's like "Oh, I'm going to the mental health gym, you know... like, I'm going to my weekly creative arts therapy to work on my mental health" you know. And to really bring that into the rhetoric and the cultural communication, or cultural conversation rather, is part of the next step in helping our society to heal as a whole, you know.

 

SAMIA: That is so so true! I mean people will talk about even... physical health even when there are serious problems. Like you may have cancer, you may have diabetes, you may have different kinds of autoimmune diseases that are, like, really serious. But no one feels... well, I mean there might be a few exceptions I suppose. But in general people are okay to talk about...

 

LILLIAN: Yeah, there's no real shame.

 

SAMIA: ...this disease or that disease... And there's no hesitation in sharing. And in fact the expectation is that when you share that you have this disease or that disease, a physical disease, that people will be supportive, that they will show you sympathy. And especially if it's a serious thing like cancer, you know, the expectation is that people will be super supportive and do everything that they can to help you in whatever ways, you know. But you're absolutely right, when it comes to mental health, we don't want to talk about it, we don't...

 

LILLIAN: It is shrouded in shame.

 

SAMIA: Yeah! And I think part of the problem also is that even when people are willing to talk about their mental health issues, the problem is that most people who are on the receiving end of that information, or are the listeners in that situation, they don't know how to respond. They don't know how to react. They don't know how to help the person who's having the mental health issues. And so because of that you're like no, no, no, ignore, ignore.. and just try to you know, sort of change the conversation, or sort of minimize what you're hearing in some way, and just kind of try to move on. And I know that was something I had a problem with.

 

LILLIAN: Yeah, yeah for sure. And I think, I guess, that's one of the things is like educating people about, like, empathy skills and active listening. And sometimes it's not our role to help people. Sometimes it's just our role to listen, you know. I mean it's always our role to just listen, you know, because it's not... unless we've been solicited for advice or help, it's not our place to help anyone… Because it's, yeah, unless you're being asked for help, it's not our place, you know. And so I think that's one of the the best things that you can do for a friend who may be suffering from mental health issues is to just listen, to just sit and listen. And you don't have to say anything, you don't have to try and solve their problems, you don't have to try and help them. Because I think a lot of that, it comes from our own discomfort. When we try to help someone that we see is suffering because, you know, we may love them and we care about them a lot and we don't like to see our loved ones suffer. But what we're actually doing is we're trying to free ourselves of our own discomfort...sorry. And so that's not coming from a real place of empathy, that's coming from a place of wanting to get rid of our own discomfort... to help, to solve their solutions. So when we can learn to sit in the discomfort of those conversations and then just listen and it's like, yeah, we don't have... you don't have to do anything, you can just be... And then, you know like, and then part of it is like again, like, how can we empower people to start having these conversations and to start going through these processes of self-inquiry, you know? And how can we give people a sense of agency in dealing with their own problems? And part of it is educating that we're responsible, you know. Like we're... like, I think particularly in the medical paradigm we've been educated that it's someone else's responsibility for our well-being. It's like, oh if I've got something wrong with me this person will help me or it's this person's job to help me. And I personally have a bit of a problem with that because I think that that takes away our own sense of personal responsibility in managing our own well-being. And I think that's a really big part of the conversation is teaching people that we're responsible. We are responsible for how we feel, how we act, how we think, you know. And then when we can step into that, then we have a sense of ownership of our own lives, and then we can act from a place of empowerment, you know.

 

SAMIA: Yeah. Yes, you raised at least two more really really important points I would love to highlight, and I hope I remember them both. I'm just going to start talking about one. The first thought that came to my mind was when you said, you know, it's not necessarily our place to ever do anything other than listen in terms of being there in a supportive helpful role. And it made me think about how a lot of times when our friends are sharing with us about physical disease that they might be struggling with, like for example, a friend of mine comes and shares with me that they have cancer... I'm just going to focus on listening and listening with empathy and giving them some, in a general way, kind of comfort you know... and helping them, maybe trying to help them, by saying "Hey, is there anything I can do to help you? Can I help you with your house work? Can I bring you something to eat?" You know, so I would focus on offering those things that I know I can help with, but I would never try to...

 

LILLIAN: And also asking permission.

 

SAMIA: Yeah.

 

LILLIAN: Yeah, exactly. And you could... asking permission to offer help is a really great thing.

 

SAMIA: Right, right. Asking for permission but also just not feeling the pressure of, I have to cure their cancer... I would never take on that responsibility, you know, because I don't think of that as my job or as my role in that moment... But/and so why not think about it similarly in the mental health context when our friends want to have conversations about their mental health... that you know, you can just take on that role of being a good listener like you said and not worry about not having the answers or not being able to figure out how to help them in the best way... because that doesn't have to be, doesn't have to be your role unless that's your profession and they actually reach out to you for that purpose.

 

LILLIAN: Yeah, exactly! They're soliciting you for your help, yeah.

 

SAMIA: Yeah.

 

LILLIAN: For sure. And do you remember the second point?

 

SAMIA: No, lost it.

 

LILLIAN: That's okay.

 

SAMIA: Oh it's okay. Yeah, it'll come back.

 

LILLIAN: It's a super interesting conversation. And I think, yeah, just like having conversations like this, and taking the stigma out of, you know, what is mental health and, you know, understanding that we're all human, you know, and we all suffer from this weird thing that we call the mind, you know. Or like, we all have this kind of internal dialogue that goes on. And also like we all come with an enormous backstory of life and experience, you know. And it's something I often... that really grounds me and brings me back to a sense of humility, is remembering... like, when I think about my life and I think about the complexity and the richness and the nuance and the diversity of experience and the pure amount of experiences that I've had... to remember that every single person has a life like that, you know. Like, and that it... just that for me brings me back to such a sense of humility and connection with, like, human to human level, you know. Like, and it's just like, yeah, remembering that it's like the complexity and the richness and the nuance of our lives, every single body shares that, every person shares that type of life experience... regardless of where they come from or who they are or what language they speak or you know what color their skin is or how much money they have. It's a kind of universal experience that we have this kaleidoscope inside our minds. And learning how to decode that and learning how to peel back the layers of meaning and representation and mythology and sociocultural programming... all of that stuff. Learning how we can decode that is part of the creative therapeutic process.

 

SAMIA: Yes, and by going through this process of learning to decode using creative therapies I think it makes it more fun and more easy.

 

LILLIAN: Yeah, yeah, love it!

 

SAMIA: Any last thoughts right now on this subject that we've been talking about?

 

LILLIAN: I think just don't be afraid to have these conversations, you know. I think that's probably one of the big, big takeaways from this is like... it's okay to talk about what's going on for you.

 

SAMIA: Yeah.

 

LILLIAN: Yeah.

 

SAMIA: Awesome! Thank you so much Lillian. Once again, I must stop our conversation even though I'm having so much fun and...

 

LILLIAN: We could go on for hours...

 

SAMIA: I know, right?! You'll probably need to come back again. You're talking about these amazing, really important issues, so I'm so grateful once again for you taking the time to come and share with us, and share so honestly.

 

LILLIAN: Thank you so much. I'm really grateful as well. And I hope that people get something out of these conversations. And yeah, I just, I feel really inspired and empowered. And yeah, I'm super grateful :)

 

SAMIA: Thank you. And for our listeners, please make sure you check the show notes and/because we will be adding Lillian's links so you can contact her and get in touch with her. And I'll add my links in case you want to get in touch with me. So just reach out for help and we'll be so happy to connect with you :)

To connect with Lillian, visit:

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