The idea of therapy can be very intimidating at times because of the fact that it requires you to be vulnerable in front of someone else.
It can be terrifying, but at the same time, we all need to take the necessary steps to improve our mental health.
If you are afraid, intimidated, or simply feel lost, I am here to tell you that you are not alone.
There are many people who are hesitant on taking the next step to bettering their mental health.
And don’t get me wrong, if you have never tried to before, it can be confusing on where to start.
The best way to get started is to ease into it and to not place too much pressure on yourself.
Christa Butler, a Licensed Professional Counselor and the creator of Creative Minds at Play, LLC, sat down with us to talk about how she aims to incorporate play and creativity into therapy!
This could be great way to get started and to correlate fun with therapy!!
Therapy doesn’t have to be morbid and dark. It can be positive and can help to bring you so much peace!
Let’s dive into the interview to get to know Ms. Butler and how she incorporates creativity into her therapy!
1. What is your name and where are you from?
Hello everyone! I am Christa Butler. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor, Registered Play Therapist Supervisor, Nationally Certified Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapist, and a Virginia Board of Counseling Approved Supervisor.
I was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. However, I currently reside in the DMV area.
2. Could you explain exactly what you do and how Creative Minds At Play connects with it?
I am a licensed professional counselor who integrates the use of play and creativity into my work with clients, supervisees, content creation, products and services offered by Creative Minds At Play.
Creative Minds At Play, LLC currently offers continuing education trainings for mental health professionals, workshops, clinical supervision, and consultation services.
Creative Minds At Play was created with the following three goals in mind:
- To help professionals learn how to effectively integrate play and creativity into therapy.
- To foster personal and professional growth with the powers of play and creativity.
- To enhance knowledge about self-healing with the use of play and creativity.
The mission of Creative Minds At Play is to provide a safe place for people to learn, grow and connect over the mutual interests in creativity and mental health.
3. What inspired you to create “Creative Minds At Play”?
Creative Minds At Play was created out of my love for creativity and play, and wanting to share with others the benefits for creativity and play as both a personal and a professional tool.
4. What is Creative Minds Consulting & what inspired you to start a consulting service?
Creative Minds Consulting offers continuing education training for mental health professionals, workshops, clinical supervision, and consultation services.
Creative Minds Consulting is a subdivision under Creative Minds At Play, LLC that is geared towards supporting mental health professionals.
One thing that my colleagues would say about me is that I am always striving to learn something new, and the first to share my knowledge with others.
In true Capricorn nature, I am an extremely hard worker and I strive hard to serve others with the highest level of integrity, ethics, and professionalism. I am lifelong learner, and teaching comes natural to me.
When I created Creative Minds Consulting it was out of my desire to mentor and help other mental health professionals.
It also fulfills my love of helping others learn.
I can recall when I was in elementary school, every day after school I used to teach my class of one, my little sister, who did not like school at all, but I convinced her it was cool.
We would set up school on the back porch with a white board and markers to go over our daily lesson plans. That was only the beginning!
5. With everything going on in the world, many people are dealing with a lot of stress. Do you have any suggestions on how we can use our creativity to help alleviate that stress or to simply take our mind off of it?
Creativity can be practiced at any age. I have utilized creative and expressive therapy interventions with individuals of all ages to include clients as young as 3 years old and adults in their 70s.
It has many benefits to include self-expression, a tool for externalization, and it is also a tool for practicing self-care and healthy coping.
Alongside that, it helps us to manage and cope with thoughts, feelings, reactions, and experiences, and it is a bridge to help connect with our inner selves and others.
Creativity can also be combined with mindfulness, which offers the benefits of reducing anxiety and stress.
There is no right or wrong way to embrace your creativity.
Creativity comes in many shapes, forms, and colors. My encouragement is to embrace whatever your heart desires to fully engage in creative expression as a tool to alleviate stress and to cope.
When creativity is experienced together, it brings out fun, laughter and joy, which all foster a felt sense of connection. Parents can use creativity as an opportunity to provide their children with positive attention and connection.
Here are some ideas on how you can use creativity to remain connected:
- Pick a new arts and crafts activity, let the child/teen pick and lead the activity (this will give them a sense of control which is needed to develop resilience in adversity).
- Create a story together. Have them create a play about the story.
- Support your child in drawing about their feelings. (Not sure what to say in response, try listening, reflecting and validating, this will give them the space to feel safe and openly share).
- Draw with your child. Take turns creating a picture together. (Don’t worry about right or wrong, just be with your child and when done hang it up).
- Allow your child to plan fun time and you follow their lead. (Identify when this will occur and the time frame and parameters in advance, communicate this clearly).
- Do something creative together every single week. This will support the relationship and the connection you share together.
6. One of the goals at The Afro Column is to help end the stigma around mental health in the Black community. What is a good starting point for people of color to start catering to their mental health if they have no knowledge on how to do so?
Make self-care a daily habit.
Self-care is one skill that therapists often encourage their clients to practice.
Self-care in conjunction with therapy and other helpful interventions can help to alleviate stress, reduce mental health symptoms, and manage emotions.
While self-care alone, may not be enough, it a start to you taking better care of yourself.
Pre-COVID-19 my favorite form of self-care was traveling, which I miss so much and cannot wait to resume.
Thankfully, my love of photography, plant care, hiking and crafting I have maintained.
I have rediscovered my love for reading and writing, which I have combined to discover the new world of creating content for social media.
7. What has been your favorite part about owning your own business?
While there are many things that I enjoy about owning my own business, creative freedom is truly one of the best parts.
I only offer services and products that I genuinely enjoy offering and/or creating.
Creative Minds At Play Is…
8. What has been the most valuable lesson that have you learned from starting your business that you would share with someone who is a new entrepreneur?
My biggest lesson thus far has been to prioritize my time, I currently operate as a solo business owner in addition to working full-time as a Director of Counseling Programs at a local nonprofit and part-time in private practice.
Sometimes I feel like there is simply not enough hours in the day to get everything done.
I have to be selective with which opportunities I say yes or no to, and I only agree to opportunities that align with the mission of Creative Minds At Play and my personal life mission, which to empower self-healing and to facilitate healing with the use of creativity.
Prioritizing my time also means time off from working on tasks.
9. What has been your biggest challenge since starting “Creative Minds At Play”?
My biggest challenge is time and like many business owners’ funds to reinvest into my business has been limited especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
10. What can we expect from Creative Minds At Play & Creative Minds Consulting in 2021?
Currently, I am working on finishing up and finally releasing my first e-course, which is on vision boarding and S.M.A.R.T goal setting.
I will be offering workshops as an introduction to the full course.
I will also continue to write informational articles for anyone seeking to learn about how their creativity is a tool for their self-healing and for parents interested in learning more the benefits of play.
Alongside that, I will also continue to offer trainings, clinical supervision, and consultation services.
Lastly, I am in the process of writing my first children’s book!
11. Describe your expectation of where you want your business to be in the next 5 years.
Over the next five years, I will have multiple children’s books published, self-help books published, e-courses and workshops on various topics that incorporate creativity and will have started my coaching for creatives program.
Creative Minds At Play LLC is a resource that was created with the vision to “inspire creative minds to play.”
My business is purpose driven, and it enables my creative mind to play while helping to inspire, educate and empower others.
Let’s all wish Christa much growth and success as she continues to make a difference with her business!
Make sure to show your support by following her Instagram page and keep a look out for her e-course, books, and informational articles coming soon!!
I hope you enjoyed learning about Christa and her business and if you like featured articles like this one, check out the ones below:
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If you enjoyed this article, learned something, or felt inspired, make sure to share this on your socials & with someone who would love it too!