To this day I ask myself “What did I do to deserve Hoe Bing Lo as a creative partner?” Hoe Bing and I have collaborated on dozens of creative pursuits that I never would have dreamed of on my own but feel precisely right. Both of us share a deep seated belief in the power of setting an intention for health and developing practices that create health. Both of us work in health care and both of us wanted more for the people we treat. He is an ER doctor and I am a psychologist, both of us are authors. Our most recent creative project, a digital magazine on Apple Newsstand Heal Myself, demonstrates how like Shel Silverstein’s The Missing Piece, we could not roll very fast without each other -- he the technology early adopter, myself the miner extracting gold from the thought leaders in the future of healing.

Joshua Shenk’s latest book Powers of Two shifts the landscape for unleashing creative expression. Would we do better to cultivate a creative partner or pursue an MFA to develop our writing craft? Or perhaps the primary value of an MFA is to find a creative writing partner. What about playing up our personal torments, amplifying our sorrows to conjure up the genius isolated and in anguish? Josh Shenk tells us we can throw out the black turtle necks, extinguish the cigarettes, the existential angst, burn our copy of Sartre’s No Exit and…find someone on the same wave-length who is a match for our interest, talent, imagination and energy level. Sartre may tell us that “Hell is the Other” but Josh Shenk tells us that “Genius is the Other.”

As a psychologist, I believe that creativity heals. I have seen clients mired in genograms with endless notes with excruciating detail of how messed up every family member in every generation is or was. I would rather see clients pursue their most eccentric creative pursuit and find success in their personal jet stream rather than throw each and every family member under the bus – session after session. Joshua Shenk’s book brings the possibility of finding success closer to hand with a simple prescription – find your creative partner.

While it is a simple prescription it is not an easy one to fill. He goes out of his way to say our culture’s obsession with romantic pairs might better be replaced by an honest search for a creative partner. But there is no reason to think that it should be easier to find a creative partner than a romantic partner. It is easy to imagine that Josh’s book will launch the next big thing, the search for a creative partner, even a website like where members can select potential partners. It would be a breath of fresh air to see magazines featuring articles such as “5 Steps to Finding Your Creative Partner” sprinkled among the 5 point programs for attracting your soul mate.

Joshua’s insight elaborates Dr. Stephen Kosslyn’s work on Social Prosthetic Systems. According to Dr. Kosslyn, Founding Dean, Minerva Schools at KGI, in Social Prosthetic Systems other people serve as prosthetics by filling in targeted areas of weakness. “The crucial idea is that when you are interacting with another person in this way, he or she has the capacity to make you more effective, in the role of a “social prosthesis.” He or she fills in for your lack. And in the process, at that moment you become a different person, transformed by your inter-actions with the other, just as the amputee who wears the springy artificial feet becomes a better runner than when she wears the conventional artificial feet”.

Both Joshua’s insight and Dr. Kosslyn’s theory and research offer a path for increasing creativity, just as research emerges linking creativity with processing speed -- a capacity that does not change with willful effort. While Joshua’s methods set out to explain recognized genius, it is hard to resist the idea that for the rest of us, a conscious effort to find or to keep creative partnerships is the most direct path to creative accomplishment.

Click for The Power of Two

For more about Heal Myself Magazine, a creative brainchild of Dr. Lara Honos-Webb and Dr. Hoe Bing Lo.

About the Author

Dr. Lara Honos-Webb

Lara Honos-Webb, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and author of multiple books.

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