A Conceptual Revolution

The creative side of culture change

Expand Your Imagination: Meet the Creativity Gurus

Creativity, play & imagination are vital to personal and social transformation.

Creativity and play are becoming more mainstream topics these days (and I’m happy some of my fellow PT bloggers devote their columns to these topics, for example, Scott Eberle, Peter Gray and Keith Sawyer). If you think that creativity, play and imagination are vital to personal and social transformation, then I have some folks you need to meet—Steve Dahlberg and Mary Alice Long.

Steve is director of the Connecticut-based International Centre for Creativity and Imagination,  which applies creativity to improve the well-being of individuals, organizations and communities. He also teaches university courses in creativity and collaborates with institutions and organizations worldwide. Mary Alice is a clinical psychologist with a Jungian bent, a play-based coach, consultant and trainer, writer and performance artist, and creator of Play=Peace, an online resource and blog.  She lives on Whitbey Island in Washington State.  

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Steve and Mary Alice met on social media, discovered their mutual passion for play and creativity, and launched a unique bi-coastal online radio show three years ago, ”Creativity in Play.”  Their first guest in September 2010 was the esteemed creativity scholar-speaker Sir Ken Robinson (of The Element, Out of Our Minds and other books and the most watched of any TED Talk). Since then, I’ve listened to dozens of the “Creativity in Play” half-hour interviews, and learned an enormous amount about imagination, play, creativity and innovation across the globe from the scholars, practitioners and entrepreneurs that have been Steve and Mary Alice’s guests over the years. (The shows are archived, so you can still listen to them.) 

Last week I had the pleasure of being Steve and Mary Alice’s guest on “Creativity in Play.” With their deft and probing questions and comments, we had a whirlwind conversation on how and why play is developmental at all ages, how play is a kind of performance and performance is a kind of play, how we learn by being supported to do things we don’t know how to do, the bi-annual Performing the World conferences I organize, how our culture’s obsession with “knowing” holds individuals and our world back—and my forthcoming book on this topic, The Overweight Brain, and why I’m excited to be writing it on social media.

During our interview we spoke about the current state of psychology that dominates our universities, institutions and popular media and the need for more training, publicity and education of the public on the existing and emerging new psychologies. Here’s what I believe people the world over need and want—

                                    A psychology of …

                                    … Possibility—not prediction

                                    … Development—not diagnosis

                                    … Transformation—not treatment

                                    … Hope—not hype!

Lois Holzman, Ph.D., is the director of the East Side Institute for Group and Short Term Psychotherapy.

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