When creation finds form.

The creative process is that simple yet complex process when things come into being. Something is born from the fertile void. On a practical level, it’s when we work to create something; be it artistic, written, or in our thoughts.

…as we are creative beings, our lives become our work of art – Cameron

By having an awareness of what happens during the creative process, we can find ways to prepare for it, to evoke it, to utilise it; get a sense of what helps it and what hinders it; and develop methods for increasing and expanding our creative abilities (Vargiu).

The five stages.

Theorists – originally Wallas and later Vargiu – have developed a useful model that breaks down the sequence into five distinct stages, outlining the interplay between the conscious and unconscious aspects of our mind.

  1. Preparation
  2. Frustration
  3. Incubation
  4. Illumination
  5. Elaboration

How the process plays out.

First, creative inspiration is received, giving the sense that something new needs to happen or be produced (or we are called upon to create something!) We work with it in the conscious mind as much as possible to try to create the desired outcome, fulfilling the preparation stage.

However, when this does not fully solve the problem there is an itching and irritation from the discordance it creates – the stage of frustration is met. We all know what this feels like. We just can’t quite seem to get it how we want it to be.

It’s helpful – and quite liberating – to know that this is actually a stage and not an indication that things aren’t going to plan. It signposts that it’s time to temporarily let it go.

Here we may have been working towards a creative solution to a problem, become frustrated, and finally let go of consciously working upon it, only to suddenly have an “aha!” in which the solution appears to our consciousness fully formed – Firman & Gila

Once our conscious mind lets go of it, the process moves forward to the incubation stage where the unconscious mind takes over. This is where the magic happens. There’s nothing you need to do but let it work by itself in the background.

After some time the stage of illumination appears, presenting to the conscious mind an outcome that feels more right, seemingly out of nowhere. The Aha! or Eureka moment.

The mostly complete solution is then streamlined, tested and verified in the elaboration stage, producing the end result and completing the process.


  • Firman, J., and Gila, A. (2007). Assagioli’s Seven Core Concepts for Psychosynthesis Training. California: Psychosynthesis Palo Alto.
  • Vargiu, J. et al (1977). Creativity in Synthesis 3-4: Realization of Self; Psychosynthesis Notebook. San Francisco: Psychosynthesis Institute.