Lisa Mitchell

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[Video Series] The Creative Advantage Video #3: Change your Perspective

Lisa Mitchell | Jan 29, 2015 | 9 comments

What happens when you look at your office from your client’s chair?

What do you see? 

When you change your perspective, you are thinking more creatively.  You can jump start stale thinking and nudge stagnant ideas.


This week on The Creative Advantage: Change your Perspective.

When we are looking at problems, we need to be able to see from different points of view or else we get stuck seeing things from that same point of view and we miss seeing what we would have seen had we looked differently of from a different perspective.

Creative people know that getting outside of your work space and changing the scenery jumps starts stale thinking.  Richard Serra, the sculptor, used to ride public transportation all around New York just to shift his stagnant ideas.  Nietzche wandered the mountain sides in order to write.  He said, “All great thoughts are conceived by walking.”

Practice changing your perspective.

First, state an issue that a client has.  Then look at it very, very close up as if it is magnified.  Then look at it from very high up as if you were a bird looking down.  Sit in the chair or coach where your client sits and take a look from your client’s perspective.

You can apply these same, change your perspective ideas for you own problems, too.  It can nudge a stale perspective in a new direction, and you can come up with something new and more imaginative.  See what kind of creative ideas come up as a result.

What did other therapists see when they changed their perspective?

Jodie Gale saw a dark, empty corner that needed sprucing up.  She went out and bought these beautiful flowers

Jodie's flowersand when she looked again at that same corner she found that it mirrored sweetness, loveliness, beauty and worth.  The very things that she wants to inspre her clients see about themselves.

Nissa Jackman and Patti Anastasi paid attention to the chairs in which their clients sit for sessions.  And, how those chairs are positioned relative to where they as therapists sit.  High/low, above/below, in a corner/against a wall.  All of these considerations were important perspectives that the creativity exercises invited them to take.  Patti even likes to look at the art work that is in view for the client.  Sometimes she changes it if she feels a client could be motivated by something different.

Sylma Fine often sees clients outside of the office so that she can literally see her clients in another setting.  She feels that seeing clients out in the world, on a walk and in the community brings out different aspects of the client and allows her to interact on different levels with her clients.

What other perspectives could you take into consideration when looking at a client’s problem? 

How does this affect your perception?  What do you see and what does it invite you to change?


Remember, comment below with your reflections on this creativity exercise and you will be eligible to win FREE registration to Artfix, my online creativity course for therapists!!  I’ll be selecting a winner on Valentine’s Day.

Also, about the sweater!  This one has a weird name already! It’s the “Mary Moser”. Named after a strange artist that I knew once who lived in the bottom of my grandparents’ house. When she died she left all of her art and fiber supplies. I wove her yarn into the sweater. I know, weird! I’m sure you can come up with a better name!  If you leave a name in the comment section below, you might win a pack of beautiful handmade greeting cards.  I’m sending some out tomorrow to Jody Wager from last week’s contest!  And, I’ll draw another name this weekend!
Sweater names so far:

Miss Jean


9 responses to “[Video Series] The Creative Advantage Video #3: Change your Perspective”

  1. Lanie says:

    Thank you for the reminder! I’m getting excited to take my support group outdoors for a change of scenery, but loved the suggestion to look close up and overhead. I have not been doing this much as I had in the past. Can’t wait to reinstate this practice with clients!

  2. Jody Wager says:

    Thanks for this reminder Lisa. As a dance/movement therapist, I often explore this issue with my clients, suggesting that we find different ways of moving or changing positions in the circle to literally see things from a different perspective. Recently, I was reminded of a suggestion that an old massage therapy instructor used to say; try doing everyday routines with your non-dominant hand. For example, try brushing your teeth or opening the door with your other hand. Challenging your movement patterns and habits is a great way to change your perspective. I have returned to this practice in an attempt to make some shifts lately and have shared these suggestions with my clients at the hospital as well.

  3. Nickie says:

    I like your thoughts andideas, Lisa. I’m a gestalt therapist. I experience your suggestion of changing perspective as changing the context or changing the “field” which then can change the meaning. In turn this opens up lots of new vistas and creative possibilities.

  4. Kristen Pierce says:

    Thank you Lisa! Changing perspective feels very important, and it can be challenging to clients to risk seeing things another way. One evening we asked the group members in our intensive outpatient program NOT to sit in their usual chairs. It was extremely unsettling for some, so much that it prompted a valuable discussion around safety and habit and what keeps us feeling stuck.Though many clients insisted on returning to their original chairs, they confessed to feeling a tiny bit more empowered and curious about seeing things from a different angle, and that maybe next time they’d try and stay a little longer.

    I’m calling this sweater ‘Cinnamon Toast’

  5. Reta Goldman says:

    I love this idea Lisa! Although teaching and practicing perspective-taking is a major component of my work with my clients, I feel more empowered to jump-start my creative engine and add more curiosity and FUN to the mix!

    Thank-you very much!

    I’m calling the sweater “Spiced Pumpkin Cardi”

  6. Michele says:

    Sweater: Weaver

    I changed the perspective and decided to do some bibliotherapy with a student. The book was about parting gifts that people have given us and thinking about that when they die. We discussed the gifts that people give to us (non-tangible) and read the book. Afterwards the student was very introspective, so I gave her paper and told her to free draw. During the drawing, she thought about the gifts her dad had given her, and she was happy so her drawing reflected that. Because I could change my thoughts and plan for the session to her needs and perspective, the session turned out great.

  7. Christine Scott-Hudson says:

    I asked a client to take the perspective of each person in her collage and say something out loud from the person’s perspective…from the image she used to represent her dad, her mom, her teacher, her per, herself. I asked her to then draw little cartoon bubbles and write what she would say from their perspective. It was really fun and silly at first, but actually, it gave way to some rich and illuminating material.Your sweater’s name, to me, is Mississippi Mud Pie.

  8. Contessa Strother says:

    Sweater: Honey Comb

    Today I took a moment with a client and was mindful of using the Ungame to ask a question from a very different perspective that really pleasantly surprised me! The question was, “If you could have any kind of super power what would it be?” The client’s answer was, “X-ray vision…so I could find treasure.” At that point I mentioned, “It sounds like you have an adventurous side to you.” This led to the client mentioning that if he used this side of him towards his recovery he would probably feel a deeper sense of “conviction.” I was amazed at how the fantasy aspect of the initial question created a therapeutic opportunity to dive into another way of viewing the client’s recovery. It was one of the highlights of my day! 🙂

  9. Tess Elliott says:

    Hello Lisa, thanks for the great video – as I viewed it I thought perfecting timing – I am in the throws of re- designing my art studio to including art therapy space and chairs are a very important aspect and consideration. Chairs that are comfortable and functional for both client and therapist…. different perspective is an artist way…. your lovely cardigan I would call it Stepping stones. cheers Tess

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