Author Archives: Priya Senroy

What do we do with the art work?

Posted by: Priya Senroy on août 31, 2018 9:08 am

September is here and it’s time to purge files, sort through paperwork and get ready for new clients. As a creative arts therapist in private practice, I often find myself to be the caretaker of paperwork, art work, and entrusted client journals. While I am obligated to keep files due to the record retention policy of my own practice, I always wonder, if there are any other ways of saving them aside from the traditional paper format. Every 6 months I find my filing cabinet bulging with therapeutic expressions, forcing me to contact clients and ask them about their decisions regarding their documents and creations. Maintaining storage space and keeping them for 7 years seems like a daunting task without a clear solution, aside from renting external space. However, I am not comfortable keeping clients’ personal art work at an exterior location as I am unwilling to deal with any potential privacy loss.

I came across various opinions and creative ways that therapists are handling this situationWhat I decided to do is take digital photographs of clients’ art creations, drawings, scanned journals, written work and (following consultation with my clients) email them for safekeeping.

As we are focusing more on cybersecurity, cyber privacy, cyber storage and cybercouselling, it is imperative to align online document storage with the best practises of document retention.

As the year continues, I plan to look at corporate cyber document retention options and storage models to see if I can make this process more efficient, keeping in mind clients’ ever-growing concerns for privacy and access to information.

Priya Senroy , MA CCC

*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

It’s not just a child’s play

Posted by: Priya Senroy on juin 6, 2018 3:36 pm

Spring has many significance in a person life-regrowth, rejuvenating and spring cleaning.

In my personal endeavour to clean up our living space with my children, we came across toys that we could dispose of at a garage sale. They were very much attached to their Lego blocks which have been there since their birth and they refuse to part with it.

I have often used it in my work with children to teach the many skills that can be taught with Lego.

In trying to clean my paperwork, I came across an article on Lego therapy. It has been particular useful as technique to work with children with Autism.

I decided to take this a step further and sue it as a conflict resolution technique to navigate sibling rivalry.

I found that it can be used as a concept than juts building, rebuilding or even problem solving in its simplest form.

Whenever there was a conflict which needed adult intervention, I would give them a Lego box and tell them to build a complex pattern and see how they could work as a complimentary duo to solve it and off course, the prize would be a spring flavoured freezie…..

I did observe their play to give each of the girl’s feedback about what they did to solve the conflict and ultimately come to a mutual resolutions. They negotiated, bargained, analysed win-win, win-lose, collaborating and other techniques. I gave them feedback about their communication, any empathy that I saw and thinking about the big picture.

Since then I have been reading about Lego therapy and  find that these pieces which can create havoc in the middle of the night on the way to the washroom has immense potential and I have learned that it is not just a child play to play with Lego.

So next time if you find yourself losing it over a piece of Lego, think about the piece differently and see how you can sue it as a creative teachable moment.

More information on Lego and its use: Blocks & Family Therapy



Priya Senroy , MA CCC

*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

“What more is there to do between October and May than letting your brain work in mysterious ways?”

Posted by: Priya Senroy on février 23, 2018 2:35 pm

This was my takeaway from the article I was reading on how Sweden beats its winter climate….

In my never ending search to beat the winter  and the cold blues I am trying to think and feel differently , and trying to spread this perspective to my clients.

Yes winter is white….Now white can mean bland, boring, dull, monotonous to some, while to others it might mean a blank canvas to start a fresh idea, a barren landscape to sow the seeds of new  opportunity.

So what I am proposing in this blog is to think of the white canvas, the landscape as a metaphor  of an incubator for our creative ideas.

Creativity does not need any season, any thermostat or thermometer…it needs our mind, our imagination and our attitude to think both inside and outside the box.

As I talk to clients who go through the Seasonal Affective Disorder symptoms and cant wait for summer to arrive, I like  encouraging them to use this opportunity to start to think on how to fill that empty canvas, the what background would they like to have, what new goals or ideas they would like to draw….its about reminding them them just like nature, like the tress and the animals…its time to hibernate, to take a break and grow internally….to power pack those seeds which are going to germinate or power pack those energy after a long year that just went past….its longing for those ideas, those creative juices to start taking shape and form so its ready to go whenever one is ready….

The notion that one has to do something or engage in something in order to be creative can easily be demystified if we focused on our internal stimuli, our motivation, our inner energy, our inner powerhouse and what would be the ideal time to do that then now….yes its winter outside, its cold and white ( sometimes) but no one says its dead….its alive as much as we could like to make it…we can stay stay indoors and not make the most of our own time or we can stay indoors ( for those of us who are not winter lovers) and start to gather colors, ideas, resources so that we can paint our year as it unravels….

So can we not let our brain work in mysterious and creative ways at this time of the year?

*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

Alebrijes-What does  your animal spirit look like?.

Posted by: Priya Senroy on décembre 11, 2017 7:54 pm

I recently say the movie Coco-it’s about celebrating the Day of the Dead, about family and traditions. The movie was colorful, musical and emotional. As I sat to deconstruct my understanding of this movie, I was intrigued by the characters called Alebrijes or spirit animals.

Research led to me this description: Traditionally, Alebrijes are carved and painted animal figurines that have become a form of symbolic art from Mexico. The word Alebrije means “imaginary” or “fantasy,” describing a style of animal carvings with exceptional paint schemes.

As a creative arts therapist, I found this symbolic art form to be fascinating as I came to know about its origins.

Pedro Linares (1906-1992), a renowned indigenous Mexican artist, first created vividly colorful papier mâché sculptures called alebrijes. The inspiration for Linares’ sculptures has an origin as outlandish and fanciful as the figures themselves. As the story goes, Linares became very ill when he was 30 years old. Not having access to medical attention, he laid in bed and lost consciousness. Linares dreamt of a bizarre, peaceful place that resembled a forest. He recounted seeing giant rocks, tall trees, and an expansive sky. The artist felt remarkably healthy again. His physical pain was gone and he felt happy as he walked along trails through the dense foliage of his dreamworld.

Suddenly, the clouds, rocks, and trees began to transform. The land features around him shaped themselves into animals that were familiar and yet like nothing Linares had ever seen before. There were mules with dragonfly wings, roosters with antlers, creatures that resembled gryphons and dragons, just to name a few. They had unnatural colors and patterns swirling over their bodies. These creatures began repeatedly chanting a single word: alebrije…alebrije…alebrije! Linares became fearful of these strange, powerful creatures chanting this nonsense word. He couldn’t tell if they were warning or threatening him. However, it was enough to startle him awake in time for his fever to subside.( NPS 2017)

Alebrijes, especially the monsters, have gained a reputation for “scaring away bad spirits” and protecting the home( Carlos, 1997)Some, like master craftsman Christian David Mendez, claim that there is a certain mysticism involved in the making and owning of alebrijes, with parts of certain animals representing human characteristics(Joaquín  2009)

I have drawn my dreams with my Jungian psychotherapist and believe in dream interpretations and I think this is another way of connecting our collective unconscious using the art form. Carl Jung saw both dreams and art (including paintings and poetry) as expressions of the unconscious .Pedro was able to link those two and create works of art which tapped into the realm of our unconscious that has been accessed brilliantly by this art form.It will be interesting to  try and clay and make my own Alebrijes modeling my dreams into animals that resonate with me and have fantastical elements.

*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

Would you go Mobile?

Posted by: Priya Senroy on février 29, 2016 4:29 pm

CaronmapI cannot imagine not having a physical location for my counselling practice. That was, to me, an essential building block to set up my practice. Whether it was private or in an organization, I have been fortunate enough to always have a space to operate from. But I sometimes find it to be restricting either geographically or in terms of the hours of operation. E-counselling has more flexibility when it comes to space as the barriers to accessing services are reduced.

I read about a counsellor who has a mobile office-an RV that goes into the community and acts a safe space that has all the necessary amenities and prerequisites to make it and actual ‘office’.

If there are any counsellors out there who are mobile, it would be interesting to get their view point on this and their pros and cons of operating from and office vs. doing e-counselling and vice-versa. We often talk of meeting the clients where they are at, so why not making ourselves mobile, accessible and transportable? We tell ourselves to be creative and think out of the box, so why not work out of a restrictive boxy immobile space?

*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

SAD and Creativity

Posted by: Priya Senroy on décembre 16, 2015 10:26 am

Nearly the end of the year and it has been an eye opening time for me both personally and professionally. The number of my clients who are experiencing SAD or seasonal affective disorder is on the rise and I am choosing to take a different and more creative intervention approach to address this issue. Clients have mentioned that they are able to cope better with their indisposition when they are being more creative.

We know that there is a direct relation between mood and creativity. I know that when I am sad, I want to listen to upbeat music to help bring me out of the funk. However, crayonshere is what I found after doing some research as part of my work.

The first finding is that our fleeting feelings can change the way we think. Because sadness makes us more focused and diligent, it sharpens attention. The second takeaway is that many of our creative challenges involve tasks that require diligence, persistence and focus. It’s not easy making a collage, writing a poem or solving a hard technical problem. Sometimes, being a little miserable can improve our creative performance.

While there has been speculation that there’s some correlation between sadness and creativity, I am finding that as my clients are reaching rock bottom, they are reaching creative peaks. Some of their expressions have been more creative and cathartic than at times when they were not SAD-emotionally and diagnostically.

There are numerous blogs and articles which offer some rich information on this subject, including the following article:

So the next time there is SADness in the air, open the windows and let it fuel your creativity.

*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

Tree of Life

Posted by: Priya Senroy on octobre 2, 2015 7:00 am


I have always been a fan of trees-specially the big sprawling ones like banyan trees, with their ever embracing branches, deep roots and lots of nurturing shades. These trees are embodiment of different kinds of lives. So when the metaphor is used as a therapeutic tool or approach, it gains different dimensions, different identity not only for the tree itself but also for the artists.

This approach enables people to speak about their lives in ways that make them stronger. It involves people drawing their own ‘tree of life’ in which they get to speak of their ‘roots’ (where they come from), their skills and knowledges, their hopes and dreams, as well as the special people in their lives. The clients then join their trees into a ‘forest of life’ and, in groups, discuss some of the ‘storms’ that affect their lives and ways that they respond to these storms, protect themselves, and each other.

This metaphor can be used with clients experiencing different issues, whether on individual or collective levels. The beauty of the tree is that it is approachable, non-judgemental and life giving. And so is the metaphor, when used appropriately, this creative art technique is a great counselling technique and can be used complimenting genograms, exploring self as well as family dynamics.

To learn more about its specific uses, isa starting point.


*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

You can’t understand me because you don’t know where I am coming from

Posted by: Priya Senroy on septembre 29, 2015 9:54 am


As part of annual refresher training courses, I had the opportunity to attend a cultural competency based workshop and the main takeaway was that you don’t need to understand every cultural and ethnic background; you need an open mind and understanding of the impacts of social determinants of health and cultural/ethnic/religious aspects that influence clients’ access to services. This attitude encourages clients to self-identify issues and concerns and determine what types of supports are needed. Continue reading

*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

So how can my problem be solved creatively?

Posted by: Priya Senroy on août 21, 2015 2:31 pm

Last week I had the opportunity to facilitate a working on creative problem solving with a group who were exploring different ways of addressing emotional wellness. Although creative problem solving has been around as long as humans have been thinking creatively and solving problems, I found it refreshing to revisit some of the activities and then use it myself to address the roadblocks in a fun way which also were great stress relievers. So what is Creative problem-solving? It is defined in the web as a type of problem solving, it is the mental process of searching for a new and novel creative solution to a problem, a solution which is novel, original and not obvious. Continue reading

*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

Can Diversity Make us Smarter and More Effective?

Posted by: Priya Senroy on juillet 24, 2015 2:06 pm

Decades of research by organizational scientists, psychologists, sociologists, economists and demographers show that socially diverse groups (that is, those with a diversity of race, ethnicity, gender and/or sexual orientation) are more innovative than homogeneous groups. So simply put….being around people who are different from us makes us more creative, more diligent and harder-working. In one of my recent reading assignments, I learned that diversity is not only about bringing different perspectives to the table. Simply adding social diversity to a group makes people believe that differences of perspective might exist among them and that belief makes people change their behavior.
communityThis, I think is relevant to our practice as counsellors who in some way or another are engaging with clients to shape and change behaviors or address belief systems while working with different therapeutic modalities. When we talk about incorporating diversity in our profession, perhaps this is how it works – by encouraging the consideration of alternatives even before any interpersonal interaction takes place.  This point again is important in informing our interactions with clients when we set up that initial appointment…yes perhaps we might make assumptions based on their names or accent but it might be worthwhile to keep those assumptions in the back burner. It is crucial not let them cloud our counselling approach.

So in a nutshell:

  • Racially diverse groups tend to share information better
  • Diversity enhances different points of view lead to broader thinking
  • Diversity pushes one to abandon the status quo

By: Priya Senroy

*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA