What is creativity?
Challenges of retirement
Creativity Quiz
Modalities for Psychotherapy, Creativity and Performance Enhancement (EMDR & Brainspotting)


What is Creativity?

Creativity is an innate resource that underpins innovation. It brings joy to the creator and to her audience. It can be encouraged or marginalized by our family of origin, teachers and educational institutions, organizations, culture, and other contexts in which we live, work and play.

Click here to see who benefits


Challenges of retirement – dreams deferred, dreams preferred

Retirement is often disorienting. After a career with routine and structure, or as grown children leave home, when one is divorced and/or widowed, to set oneself loose can feel exhilarating but also daunting. This is a time to draw on your creative energies in order to re-vision your life, find what is calling to you, and mobilize the courage to mount the search for what’s next?

I help you navigate this transition. We tap your creative energies and dissolve blockages. You learn to manage the difficult emotions, such as the fear and anxiety of transition. Together we discover the resources that will propel you along your path: imagination, visioning, courage, perseverance and resilience to name just a few.



Neuroscience research is demystifying what goes on in our brains in the creative process. The CREATES model of Shelley Carson, PhD at Harvard, proposes seven brainsets, areas of the brain that are activated when you are creating: Connect, Reason, Envision, Absorb, Transform, Evaluate and Stream (Flow).

How is this information helpful? You learn which brainsets you favor and which you neglect. With growing awareness, you recruit the brainsets required in each stage of the creative process. For example; Envision – visioning your project, Connect – thinking out side the box, Reason – planning necessary steps, Evaluate – periodically evaluating your work, Stream – entering the flow state in performance, etc. Linking brainsets is also integrative and strengthens brain resources. In sum, you add depth, dimension and awareness to your creative process as you make new connections between neurons (neuroplasticity). Your muse will love you for refining your relationship with her.

Go to the CREATES website and take a test to establish your preferred brainsets.


The Creativity Quiz

This quiz will illuminate how your creative energies were either cultivated or suppressed. If you think of creativity as an energy that you are in relationship you can discover the quality of your current relationship. Have you just met? Are you dating? Are you in a committed relationship? What’s that like? I invite you to take the quiz. Write your answers in longhand and don’t worry about grammar and punctuation. You can use Natalie Goldberg’s Wild Mind method. This helps you bypass the censors in your brain. You may want to write your answers in a Creativity Resource journal.

Take the Quiz


Modalities for Psychotherapy, Creativity and Performance Enhancement

I utilize two modalities for releasing blocks to creativity and performance. These develop, expand and hone your relationship with creativity and your performance . These two modalities are EMDR developed by Francine Shapiro PhD, and Brainspotting developed by David Grand PhD. To learn more about Brainspotting watch David Grand’s videos.

Brainspotting part 1 by David Grand PhD
Brainspotting part 2 by David Grand PhD
Brainspotting part 3 by David Grand PhD

EMDR & Brainspotting

Both of these fascinating modalities, also used extensively in my psychotherapy practice, view the brain as an information processing system. If memories of experiences (which are malleable) are dysfunctionally stored they may embed as negative messages to yourself, along with locked emotions like shame, anger or fear. They can, and do, inhibit access to creativity. Both modalities utilize various forms of bilateral processing (engaging both brain hemispheres) to bring these memories and experiences to a more adaptive resolution and to allow the brain to heal itself. Past experiences inhibiting creative endeavors are transformed and blocks to creativity are released. In other words, you create a more healing and liberating story. These modalities are useful in addressing a creative challenge, for example: a monologue, painting, poem or novel, a workplace problem or any number of anxiety-provoking performance venues. As David Grand PhD, developer of Brainspotting states, “these modalities are inherently creative” in and of themselves.

A client whose therapy involved extensive EMDR says:

“Ellen has been my therapist for quite some time now. I have more than two diagnoses which I will live with for the rest of my life, let alone huge issues that have ruled my life. Ellen, however has been pivotal in assisting me to confront these life-long issues and come to terms and accommodations regarding them. Not too far into therapy, she discovered a creative spark inside me that had long been ignored and/or abandoned while I spend my life undiagnosed, not medicated and with no therapy. While sorting through my personal demons, Ellen kept returning to a side of me that was positive, my creative side. Through her persistence and support I have returned to creating art. My art is no longer for others, but for my own enjoyment. While immersed in whatever strikes my artistic fancy, my diagnoses melt away into nothingness and hard-core issues become ghosts. For that time I am simply myself, creative and content. ”

It is essential for the therapist to stay attuned to the client in both formats. This is collaborative, creative work.

A summary of what happens in an EMDR session:

  • We select a method for bilateral processing: audio, tactile or visual.
  • We select a target – let’s say the last time you had stage fright.
  • We establish the negative belief you have about yourself that goes with that experience.
  • We establish the emotions and body sensations that go with that experience.
  • We rate the distress level on a scale of 0-10.
  • We establish the positive belief you would rather have about yourself and rate how believable it is on a scale from 1-7, seven being true.
  • We “process” (engage bilateral stimulation) and you simply notice what emerges, like watching scenery from a train. (at times I may interject questions or suggestions and periodically check your numbers)
  • When your level of distress is down to zero we “install” the positive belief which should be at 6 or 7 and make sure that there are no more disturbing beliefs, sensations or emotions.
  • We review what has changed and what new healing story has emerged.

A summary of what happens in a Brainspotting session:

Brainspotting is somewhat less structured.

  • You listen to music especially composed for bilateral (left / right hemisphere) stimulation.
  • We choose a target – a traumatic memory, a sports injury, stage fright, the development of a monologue or character, etc.
  • We find the “felt sense” of your target in your body.
  • I select from a variety of brainspotting protocols.
  • We find the brainspot or brain gaze that is the visual correlate of the neural net holding your experience.
  • You hold your eyes in that position and “process” the stuck information until the information is brought to resolution. (Distress level “0”).

A client’s experience of Brainspotting:

“Ellen’s facilitation of tapping into the emotional state of my character through the Brainspotting technique was quick, easy, and effective. I was able to tap this energy right before I began the monologue and able to come out of the character quickly by using the tools that she help me find.”


PAYMENT: Creativity and Performance Enhancement appointments are not considered medically necessary and therefore not covered by insurance. Fees will be discussed when you contact me.