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Tips on Creativity for Recreational Therapists

A Review of David Eagleman’s (2019) documentary The Creative Brain


Beamish, J., & Trackman, T. (Directors), & Eagleman, D. (Writer). (2019). The Creative Brain [Video file]. Retrieved July 5, 2019, from https://creativebrainmovie.com/ The Creative Brain (2019)

By: Danny Pettry, M.Ed., LPC, NCC, CTRS-BHS


David Eagleman studied the brain and creativity for over 20 years.

Eagleman is the writer and performer of the (2019) documentary, The Creative Brain.

Professional Recreational Therapists could make innovations in their field by using the concepts covered in Eagleman’s (2019) documentary on The Creative Brain.

An overview of creativity, the healing power of creativity, and tips on developing creativity are summarized in this review for recreational therapists.


Part 1: What is Creativity?

Human brains have a pre-frontal cortex that animals don’t have.

Imagination takes place in the pre-frontal cortex.

It allows humans to take information they’ve learned and to visualize something new.

Everything created by humans in our modern world was once an idea conceived in the brain.

In example: humans have created: novels, music, movies, buildings, bridges, automobiles, plans, smart phones, the internet, spaceships, and the robots gathering scientific information on Mars, etc.

Today, there are people who are visualizing, imagining, and creating new and innovative products and ideas that will become realities of tomorrow.


Part 2: Healing Power of Creativity

Creativity is healthy for humans, as recreational therapists already know.

Eagleman (2019) gave examples of two places where creativity was making a difference.

  • Art as therapy in prisons. Eagleman cited that, prisoners who participated in creative programs were “80% less likely to reoffend.” Eagleman’s film featured a prison in Louisiana. Arts allow for a healthy way to release emotions.


  • Art in education. Eagleman’s film featured a school in Vermont that put creativity and the arts in the middle of all subjects. “Math scores have nearly doubled.”


Creative arts are great for:

  • Affect: improving mood, and healthy expression of thoughts and feelings
  • Interpersonal: improves social skills like empathy. Prisons were less likely to re-offend.
  • Cognitive: improving thinking abilities



Part 3: How to Be Creative

Creativity has outcomes, but how do you become creative?

Eagleman (2019) identified three (3) ways to be creative.

  • 1. Try something new

Here are some ways to do this: Learn about something you have little knowledge of. Develop new skills. Take a class in something you’re clueless about. Learn a new language. Volunteer doing something you’ve never tried before. Surround yourself with many different types of influences.

  • 2. Push boundaries

It isn’t about doing the same things that have already been created. It consists of crating something new that people haven’t seen before. Of course, it can’t be too far out there that will lose people. It could take the familiar and add to it. Too familiar and it is boring and redundant. Too weird and is repels people. It is about finding the just right in-between.

  • 3. Fail more

People often avoid trying new things because they might fail. As a result, they don’t create anything new. Failure can be embarrassing. However, it is the people who have had the most failures who go on to succeed. The failures are like learning experiences.


Recreational therapists can:




Beamish, J., & Trackman, T. (Directors), & Eagleman, D. (Writer). (2019). The Creative Brain [Video file]. Retrieved July 5, 2019, from https://creativebrainmovie.com/ The Creative Brain (2019)