Tag Archives: Priya Senroy

Would you go Mobile?

Posted by: Priya Senroy on February 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

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

Posted by: Priya Senroy on September 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 August 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 July 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

When Arts, CBT and Trauma Decided to Form a Partnership

Posted by: Priya Senroy on July 16, 2015 11:52 am

Summer is fireading-767919_640nally here and I am excited about connecting my neurotransmitters with different evidence based practices so that I can inject different creative ideas combined with psychotherapeutic models.

So it’s time to go back to the virtual library and read voraciously. I came across these narrations: ” Jogging the Cogs: Trauma-Focused Art Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with Sexually Abused Children” by Pifalo, T. (2007), and “Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association”, 24(4), 170-75; .

What I found interesting was the partnership of using creative art, trauma work and CBT. Even through it’s for a specific population, I am sure that it can be easily translated with any group as long as we understand the dynamic of the partnership. As I expand my tool box of activities and facilitation repertoire, I have come to realize that the modality of creative arts is flexible enough to absorb, modify and then deliver itself in a variety of ways using theories from different psychotherapeutic modalities. In my work using CBT, I often use worksheets as homework journaling thoughts and have found that words can sometimes be cumbersome and overwhelming for some. And I have been thinking on how to make it more accessible and interactive so that clients are not perturbed by the wordiness of the intervention. And that’s where creative arts come in as a value-added aspect of creative self-expression. When I use movement or a poetry or a piece of art or doodle as a way to record and translate the words into personal narratives, it seems to offer a channel for expression of experiences, and also supports the sensory-based understanding of how both the mind and body respond to anxiety and stress. And doodlefrom the book, I have gathered that art plus CBT plus trauma work have potential for bridging the gaps between the conscious and the unconscious. Pifalo who has conducted a number of research studies on trauma, using CBT and art therapy concludes the following:

“The visual nature of traumatic memory, the concrete graphic approach of art therapy, and the underlying structure of the cognitive behavioral approach create a powerful, efficient treatment model within which to achieve the goals of trauma focused therapy” (p.175).

By: Priya Senroy

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

Looking Inside My Cultural Fabric

Posted by: Priya Senroy on June 15, 2015 8:17 am

I consider myself to be a global citizen…meaning plant me anywhere, I will assimilate and survive, I will grow my own roots, embrace the culture and thrive as a counsellor….I thought that all clients will seek my professional services and no one will discriminate me because of my accent, my skin color, my ethnicity , my age or how I dress myself in ethic wear…Well….on the contrary, I find myself targeted….by clients who want to come and see me only just because we look the same, we speak the same language and we know where we are coming from. It does not matter to them globe-673005_640that I am not an expert in what they are looking for….it’s my accent that comforts them, that assures them that they will be heard and not be marginalized. It’s a sense of belonging which is creating therapeutic space, a therapeutic relationship and ultimately helping the clients to deal with their concerns. So many times I am hearing in a diverse work culture, that what matters is your competency but that’s not the case, it’s about the cultural competence, it’s the connection. Even I see when I burst into the common mother tongue and explain the confidentiality or complex process. It s such an interesting time in my head, when I have to think in English and translate the essence in another language. For me being culturally diverse in my practice is more than just understanding the commonality, it’s about conveying the appropriate message within the context – sometimes translating emotional languages and words which do not exist in my clients. It’s also about recognizing and embracing my own (and sometimes inviting clients) into my cultural diaspora to make that connection.

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

Let’s Give Creativity a Break

Posted by: Priya Senroy on June 1, 2015 2:26 pm

So it’s now June and half of the year is gone and I can feel that creative burnout smell and I better do something about it, or else, I will be spooning my whole summer with the crash and burn aftereffects. I am being more aware that I need to take care of myself so that I can take care of my practice and also encourage the importance of self care in my clients. As a creative arts therapist and counsellor I have decided to take myself out of feeling the need to be creative 100% and have decided to take a break from the traditional meaning of creativity, in different ways.

So here is one main tip that I have started to implement as I am beginning to prevent the dreaded emotional drain of batteries. ‘Take a break’ is my latest mantra and I have been sharing ideas with my colleagues, at workshops and with my clients and it’s amazing how many conversations are being generated around self care and self advocacy. A study by the University of Illinois has shown that the brain’s resources drop after a long period of focus, which hinders overall performance. Even a brief time away can restore the brain’s ability to think creatively.

So, here are 50 ways to take a break:

  1. Take a bath
  2. Listen to music
  3. Take a nap
  4. Go to a body of water
  5. Watch the clouds
  6. Watch the stars


  7. Fly a kite
  8. Let out a sigh
  9. Rest your legs up on a wall
  10. Light a candle Continue reading

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

Use of Creative Therapies in Treating Depression

Posted by: Priya Senroy on May 5, 2015 8:54 am

As front-line counsellors, we spend a lot of our expertise with our clients and I think it’s important to share the successes with other practitioners too. Not only contributing via articles, journals and chapters adds to the CEC piece but it also helps to stay abreast of the current trends, researchers and best practices in our fields.

This spring has been a exciting time for me as a counsellor from a professional development point of view. I have been working on 2 chapters for some time and it’s exciting to see they have been published. Use of Creative Therapies in Treating Depression, edited by Stephanie Brooke and Charles Myers is a comprehensive work that examines the use of art, play, music, dance/movement, drama, and animals as creative approaches to treating depression.lg9780398081485

The book can be viewed at http://www.ccthomas.com/details.cfm?P_ISBN13=9780398081485

The editors’ primary purpose is to examine treatment approaches, which cover the broad spectrum of the creative art therapies and the reader is provided with a snapshot of how these various creative art therapies are used to treat children and adults diagnosed with depression.  The book is extremely resourceful, insightful and draws from evidence based practice and research.  I had the honor of sharing my work in the form of a case study using masks and the sesame approach of drama therapy with South Asian women recovering from depression.

So my encouragement to my fellow counsellors would be to please share your work with a broader audience and take up writing and contributing. The labor is worth it when you see your work being published and used as references. It is also worth it to know that the work, the client groups and the career we have chosen are validated.

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

Tribute to Creative Art Practitioners Around the World

Posted by: Priya Senroy on May 1, 2015 8:47 am

I am very optimistic that I will soon see a plethora of greenery outside my window even though Spring has been illusive in my garden. The buds, the birds and the weeds are finally getting out of their hibernation and my energy is getting renewed as I am planning my next steps in my work.

This month has been catastrophic in many parts of the worlds, especially in Nepal and it has resonated deeply as it’s a place that I have visited many times and when the tremors were felt as far as in India, it struck more as that’s where home is.

A part of me wants to jump on the next flight and join many organizations including Art therapy Without Borders to be part of the humanitarian work and use my skills for a cause which is beyond words for many.

I have done work with some PTSD but not directly been involved as other practitioners have during the deadly hurricanes, tsunamis or like the recent earthquake. When we talk about using creative arts or even counselling in such a broad spectrum, it’s important I think to remember the ways art can be used when words are not enough. It can be used as a compliment to assessment, to recovery, to healing. This is the time when creative arts can be transcultural, transformative and transnational, something that is advocated by Art Therapy Without Borders. Since I started practicing as a creative arts therapist in 1995, I have always been amazed by the flexibility, the adaptability, the ability to connect and the diversity of this field. Not only is the cultural and diverse fabric of the field is enriched by those who practice it , it’s the client group, it’s the techniques and it’s the materials which are constantly changing and adding to this melting pot of creativity.

This blog is a salute, a tribute and a standing ovation to the field, to the practitioners and to the world out there who believe in the power of creative art.


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


Posted by: Priya Senroy on March 31, 2015 9:12 am

When we talk about diversity in our counseling practice, I think it’s not just working with diverse culture or diverse population but it’s also having an understanding of the cultural diversity of the materials we choose to use. Whether it’s a piece of fabric, a story or even an activity, each has its own unique characteristic; its unique symbolism and its unique healing purpose. latin americaDiversity is also found in some of the cultural rituals that we celebrate. I find that spring is one of the times when there are many such rituals take place. For me, spring is one of the strangest season and time of the year. While it is a time for birthdays, celebrating cultural New Year, anticipation of what am I going to plan in my vegetable patch, it is also a time to mark anniversaries of heartbreaks. It is during this time that I also get to go back to reading one of my favorite books by Clarissa Pinkola Este: “Women Who Run with the Wolves”. In one of her chapters, she mentions a grief exercise called “Descansos”,  which is basically markers of the changes, the turning points, the deaths (literal and figurative) in one’s life.  She says, “Descansos are symbols that mark a death. Right there, right on that spot, someone’s journey in life halted unexpectedly. There has been a car accident, or someone was walking along the road and died of heat exhaustion, or a fight took place there. Something happened there that altered that person’s life and the lives of other persons forever.”

I have been creating my own Descansos at various life transition events as they can also be seen, metaphorically, as crossroads where choices need to be made.

My background is not from Latin America where Descanos are the roadside shrines that mark the memory where an accident claimed a life. I can, however, relate to the archetypical images and the symbols and what Jung shares as a part of the collective unconscious. For me working with images from diverse cultures helps me to feel connected not only to the materials but also to the psyche of the experiencing the knowledge of the client and the community.

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