certificate program in social emotional arts (sea)

SEA Logo_WebThe Certificate Program in Social Emotional Arts (SEA) empowers educators, community arts professionals, mental health practitioners, and anyone interested in maximizing social-emotional benefits of arts experiences, and minimizing self-judgment and anxiety that can impede learning.

Our Certification Program is interactive and experiential, and features the use of sound, rhythm, movement, and other creative approaches to group behavior management, verbal and nonverbal communication, managing special needs and integration with typical students, traumatic responses and self-care, strengthening personal presentation skills, and evaluating program outcomes.

SEA also offers best social-emotional practices in the multiple disciplines of art, dance/movement, drumming, music, poetry, and theater because of their symbiotic benefits. Our eight-session program not only teaches structured and scripted activities that can be used in the community, but also trains you how to develop and deliver your own effective curricula for youth and other populations.


sea_fall-2016_drama-enactmentThrough eight training sessions, you will learn to develop and deliver process-oriented arts experiences in school and community settings to improve emotional well-being, the social climate, and the learning environment.

Educators and community arts professionals are often not sure what to do or say when inevitable “stuff comes up,” like when a student comes crying after seeing a performance and says, “that happened to me.” There can also be unintended consequences of arts experiences, such as self-judgment, anxiety, and inadvertent re-triggering of trauma.

To help strengthen the role of educators and arts professionals in community health, we offer this certificate program aimed at maximizing the social-emotional benefits of arts education, and the effectiveness of program development and delivery, through a focus on the process of creative expression. The process of creative expression can be used as a metaphor for life that deepens reflection and dialogue, which brings meaning, self-awareness, empathy, and connection to others. Moreover, engagement in the process of creative expression without expecting perfection or mastery reduces self-judgment and anxiety that can impede learning, creativity, and future participation. Without performance anxiety, students are more apt to volunteer to lead activities and share ideas, which transfers to more active participation in the classroom and greater willingness to take positive risks, such as volunteering to sing solos in the school chorus. In the service of life, these students are acquiring skills for thinking on their feet, generating creative solutions, and expressing themselves with confidence.

The National Education Association advocates the use of the arts as a “hook” for getting students interested in school. Ånd moreover, arts programs that can be shown to improve social-emotional learning and that are evaluated in ways that are meaningful to stakeholders, such as school administrators, will also increase the likelihood of adoption by schools—which will increase access to arts experiences for underserved youth.

receive your social emotional arts certification:

sea_group-danceWe offer our eight-session SEA Certification Program three time a year in Santa Monica, CA. Spring and fall sessions take place on Saturdays over a three-month period. We also offer a consolidated summer session, which takes place over two consecutive weekends. Trainings are open to all—from community arts professionals to educators to mental health practitioners. CEUS are also available for an additional fee.

Trainees that attend all eight sessions and satisfactorily complete all course requirements satisfactorily will obtain a Certificate in Social Emotional Arts. Certificate holders that demonstrate solid mastery of SEA training practices may be recommended for future teaching opportunities in the community.

Our Spring 2018 Session will take place over eight Saturdays from 3/10 – 6/23. For more information on this session, click here.

Our Summer 2018 Intensive will take place over nine sessions, from 7/19 through 7/29 (with breaks on 7/22 and 7/26). For more information on this session, click here.


“The SEA program pushed my creative teaching to new levels. The techniques shared are practical and are ready to implement in the class. If you are up for a challenge that will move you from a comfort zone to a full spectrum creative teacher, this program is for you.” —SEA Trainee

“This work is healing, powerful and is integral with working with many populations. So many social-emotional and cognitive skills are strengthened through this work AND it’s fun!” —SEA Trainee

sea_group_drawing“Schools and teachers NEED to be able to offer these tools and strategies to their students. All teachers would benefit from this training. Personally, I feel as though I have been cracked wide open and there is so much more inside me that can emerge.” —SEA Trainee

“I’ve learned SO much from the classes—from the coursework, the instructors, AND the participants! The experience has helped me enormously as an educator and as a person.”

— Kate Pomatti, Art Teacher at Lincoln Middle School in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District

“I’ve learned so much about myself, my confidence has gotten stronger and it was a wonderful bond and support that we as a cohort created for each other. I am so grateful! Honored! Thank you!”—SEA Trainee

“When I first came across the SEA Program, I felt like I had stumbled upon a gold mine! This program has far exceeded my expectations. What a rewarding experience it has been to join with like-minded peers and to learn from leaders in the fields of arts and healing. Not only have I gained skills to apply in my professional life, but I’ve also experienced growth and healing on a deeper personal level. I urge you to sign up for his priceless program! You will be so grateful you did!” —SEA Trainee

sea_art_i-feel-the-earth-move“Get ready to go on the journey of your lifetime. The experience was very eye opening and heart healing. This program pushed me beyond my comfort zone. It made me aware of my own limitations and it gave me the empowerment to challenge them. This is a great program with so many benefits. Enjoy the ride!” —SEA Trainee

“An awesome, life-changing program! It was eye opening, and has put arts therapy into a whole new perspective for me. There is no doubt that the knowledge I have gained while at SEA will have a profound impact on the way I facilitate moving forward. This is a program that every educator and therapist should have the opportunity to participate in. Thank you again from the bottom of my heart for making my time at SEA an experience that I will never forget!” —Debbie Kazel Sipos, Music Teacher and Music Therapy Student

“I’m not exaggerating when I say that the SEA program changed my life. You’ll grow as a person, and can bring what you learn to any population that you might serve. I highly recommend it.”— Deborah Scott Studebaker, Writer and Writing Teacher

Click here to read the complete list of testimonials for the SEA Certificate Program.

teaching faculty:

Camille Ameen co-founded Inside Out Community Arts (IOCA), a nationally award-winning, theater-based program that builds communication, socialization and problem resolution skills, and fosters understanding between diverse middle and high school youth. As Co-Director from 1996 through 2007, Camille trained and supervised all teaching artists; oversaw a mentoring program for IOCA graduates in high school; produced and directed performances; and designed/oversaw program evaluation. She has served as a teaching artist at all IOCA sites, including numerous public middle schools, LA Bridges programs, Star View Wraparound Program, L.A. Child Guidance Clinic, Metropolitan State Hospital, and Dubnoff Center for Child Development. She co-wrote IOCA’s Curriculum for Youth Empowerment and continues to train new teaching artists in the curriculum and methodology. Camille has worked at Gompers, Markham and Synergy Academy with Collective Voices. Through artworx/LA she combines her theater techniques and work as a certified Council trainer (a listening and speaking circle practice) into a curriculum culminating in performance art at continuation high schools. She created a puppet making/performance workshop for adults and children at Metropolitan State Hospital and worked as a teaching artist with UCLA’s Imagination Workshop for nine years, serving psychiatric patients, homeless families, the elderly, and homeless/addicted veterans in recovery. She has received a Certificate of Commendation from the City of L.A, the Wave Award from the Venice Chamber of Commerce for teaching excellence, among others. She received a Professional Designation in Arts Education from the L.A. County Arts Commission. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College in Theatre Arts and Speech, she’s had a long career as a professional actress in NY and LA including Broadway, TV and film.

Jessica Bianchi, EdD, ATR is an art therapist who completed her doctoral work at Loyola Marymount University, studying Educational Leadership and Social Justice. A master’s graduate in Marital and Family Therapy/Art Therapy from Loyola Marymount University (LMU), Jessica has served as art therapist at Aviva Family and Children’s Services working with emotionally disturbed teens. Jessica is also part-time faculty at LMU teaching on the importance of providing visual arts in all classrooms for holistic learning, and also co-teaches a class focused on art therapy with children in LMU’s graduate Marital and Family Therapy/Art Therapy Department. Jessica teaches a class for the Visual and Performing Arts Education Program within the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture that is focused on creating empathetic communities by way of creative expression with defended youth. In addition, Jessica directs an annual weeklong summer arts camp in collaboration with LMU’s Marital and Family Therapy/Art Therapy Department at Dolores Mission Middle School in East Los Angeles.

Carolyn Braddock, MA is a nationally and internationally known consultant, educator, trainer, and group facilitator who specializes in innovative mind/body approaches to managing stress and patterns resulting from traumatic events. Many of these methods are based in The Braddock Body Process® — a body-centered approach based in Tai Ji and Qi Gong movement and philosophy, whereby individuals learn to identify and respond to signals of stress and manifestations of trauma in their distinctive patterns of breath, movement and sound. Carolyn received intensive training in family therapy at the Colorado Institute for Marriage and Family Therapy and studied extensively with renowned pioneer psychiatrist Carl Whitaker in the field of family therapy. She founded the Institute on Child Abuse and Neglect in l981 through the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver and The Professional Psychology Department at the University of Northern Colorado. In addition, Carolyn works with individuals, couples, families, groups, and businesses in areas such as team development, communication, management skills, addictions, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Carolyn serves as mentor/trainer to graduate students and psychotherapists; consultant/trainer at the Chi Chi Rodriquez Youth Foundation (an organization for at risk youth in Florida); guest lecturer at California State University Northridge and at the University of Denver; and featured presenter for organizations, conferences and national/international symposia. She authored Body Voices: Using the Power of Breath, Sound, and Movement to Heal and Create New Boundaries, and chapters in other books and publications. 

Kathy Cass MA, BC-DMT, NCC, CYT, E-RYT, 500 is a board certified dance/movement therapist, nationally certified counselor, and a certified yoga therapist with over 25 years of instructional and clinical experience with a variety of populations. She has expertise as a long standing director of a non-profit therapeutic dance/yoga organization called Chance to Dance, serving persons of all ages and abilities, and as a movement/yoga consultant for numerous institutions and individuals. This organization continues under the direction of Kathy’s protégé, under the new name Dance for All. Kathy served three years, one, as head of the national BC-DMT panel of the Dance/Movement Therapy Certification Board. She has been a guest lecturer at Scripps College, Center for Movement Education and Research at Loyola Marymount University, UCLA and Los Angeles Chapter of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. Kathy is currently a part-time faculty member at Santa Monica College Emeritus Division, El Camino Community College and Center for Movement Education and Research. She has been an Advisory Board Member for California State University, Fullerton, Extended Education in Expressive Arts Therapies. She also maintains a private Yoga Therapy /Ayurveda Life Skills practice in Santa Monica, CA. On the side, she has worked as a consultant for Pacific Resident Theater, Salty Shakespeare Company, and various actors around town, doing choreography, musical staging, and character movement. 

Erica Curtis, LMFT, ATR-BC is a practitioner, writer, consultant, and educator in the fields of art therapy and marriage and family therapy. A Board Certified Art Therapy and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Erica has 15 years of experience and education in integrative approached to health and well-being. Erica is a professor at the Loyola Marymount University Department of Marriage and Family Therapy with a specialization in art therapy and has a therapy practice in Santa Monica where she works with children, adults, and families and supervises interns. She served multiple terms on the board of directors of the American Art Therapy Association and is past president of the Southern California Art Therapy Association. Currently, Erica serves as a media ambassador to the American Art Therapy Association. Erica was formerly clinical director at the Help Group, a widely respected Los Angeles non-profit agency and has lectured widely for institutions and organizations including UCSD, USC, UCLA and Kaiser Permanente. Erica was previously editor for the art therapy section of AllThingsHealing.com and has been used as an expert source for articles appearing in USA Today, Boston GlobeEHow Family, Shine from Yahoo!, and Women’s World Magazine, to name a few. She holds special certifications in Behavioral Intervention (as a certified Behavioral Intervention Case Manager), Disaster Mental Health (by the American Red Cross), and Collaborative Family Law (by the Los Angeles Collaborative Family Law Association). She has written several articles for Special Education Advisor and has been published in the Journal of Clinical Art Therapy. 

Helen G. Dolas, MS, MT-BC has a BA in Music Therapy and an MS in Special Education from California State University, Long Beach. In 1982, she founded Arts & Services for Disabled, Inc., a nonprofit organization that has provided quality creative arts education and therapy, driven by a “Love before Learning” philosophy, to over 4,000 individuals with disabilities since 1982. In this capacity, she supervises and trains approximately 65 employees and 600 community volunteers. As one of the largest employers of music therapists in the region, Helen has been the Clinical Training Director of her American Music Therapy Association (AMTA)-approved music therapy internship program since 1984. She is currently on the music therapy faculty at California State University, Northridge. Previously, as an adjunct professor at Chapman University, she established several new music therapy clinical training sites: at a private school for youth with autism, at a center that serves traumatized at-risk youth, and at UC Irvine Medical Center’s Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. Helen is currently partnering with two other music therapists to establish the International Foundation for the Healing Arts to promote the development of music therapy services. In 2008 and 2009, she was invited by Her Highness Sheikah Mozah of Doha Qatar in the Middle East as one of 15 U.S. delegates to participate in the Third Annual International Forum of Children with Special Needs. She has received numerous awards including a National Model Program Award at the U.S. Senate from the National Coalition of Creative Art Therapies (2002), the Betty Isern Howrey Award – the highest award in the Western Region AMTA (2006), and the National Professional Practice Award from the AMTA (2007).

Ping Ho, MA, MPH is Founding Director of UCLArts & Healing, which transforms lives through creative expression for self-discovery, connection, and empowerment. UCLArts & Healing is an organizational member of the UCLA Collaborative Centers for Integrative Medicine, of which Ping is a Steering Committee Member and was the founding administrator. She was also the founding administrator for the UCLA Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI), which led to the privilege of writing for Norman Cousins and co-writing the professional autobiography of George F. Solomon, M.D., founder of the field of PNI. In addition, Ping has an extensive background as a health educator and performing artist. She has a B.A. in psychology with honors from Stanford University – where she was appointed to spearhead the still-thriving Health Improvement Program for faculty and staff, an M.A. in counseling psychology with specialization in exercise physiology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an M.P.H. in Community Health Sciences from UCLA School of Public Health. Ping serves on the Council of Advisers for the Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care, a national network of educational organizations and agencies in complementary and alternative medicine. She has also served on the professional learning subcommittee for CREATE CA, a California Arts Council collaborative to educate school administrators regarding the value of the arts for learning and behavior, what constitutes quality arts education, and models for successful implementation and outcomes. Ping is a co-developer of the program, Beat the Odds: Social and Emotional Skill Building Delivered in a Framework of Drumming, which has been successfully delivered by personnel in many schools and community organizations, and was principal investigator of the study (published in the top integrative medicine journal, Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine) upon which the program is based. In addition, Ping developed the UCLArts and Healing Social Emotional Arts Certificate Program to empower anyone in the design, delivery, and evaluation of effective arts-based programs that maximize social and emotional benefits.

Karen Howard, RMT, CEAP is a registered music therapist and founder of Music & Expressive Therapy Associates (META), which uses expressive and creative arts to strengthen life skills and functioning, enable the experience of the fullness of life, elicit insight and awareness for decisions and choices, and enhance the potential for joy and a sense of community. She works with a wide range of populations, including those with special needs (particularly autism), those in drug rehabilitation and residential treatment centers, women, and individuals seeking personal growth opportunities. Karen was part of the Emmy award-winning HBO documentary AUTISM: THE MUSICAL, which featured her song “Everyday Miracles” and has collaborated on over 20 original musicals for children and teens on the autism spectrum. Karen has facilitated performances with The Miracle Project in Los Angeles, at the United Nations, with Autism Speaks, HollyRod Foundation, HBO, and Autism On The Seas. In 2011, Karen traveled with The Miracle Project to India as a co-facilitator for training of parents, educators and therapists for individuals with autism. Karen has degrees in Music Therapy, Piano Performance, Psychology, and a Teaching Credential. She is certified as an Autism Movement Therapy provider and has an advanced certification as an Expressive Arts Practitioner. She has been a Registered Music Therapist for 30+ years. She has been a private piano instructor for over 30 years and is on the Board of Directors for Spectrum Laboratory, a new nonprofit organization that assists teens and young adults in creating music videos, CDs, film, and acting vignettes with the help and collaboration of professionals in the field.

Gabrielle Kaufman, MA, LPCC, BC-DMT, NCC is a board-certified dance/movement therapist and counselor with over 20 years experience in the helping profession. Currently, she is director of Training and Technical Assistance for the Los Angeles County Perinatal Mental Health Task Force. Prior to this, she served as director of the New Moms Connect Program of Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles providing services to new parents, particularly those suffering from symptoms of postpartum depression. Gabrielle has worked extensively with new families and aided in providing solutions to many parenting concerns. She has run several programs for high-risk children and teens, taught classes to parents of newborns and toddlers, and runs support groups for single parents and women with postpartum depression. Gabrielle has spoken widely, published articles on parenting, and served as editor for Bringing Light To Motherhood. She serves as Los Angeles coordinator for Postpartum Support International also has a private practice in Los Angeles providing services in both English and Spanish languages.

Jennie Linthorst, MA, CAPF is a poet, expressive writing teacher, and founder of LifeSPEAKS Poetry Therapy. Jennie has been teaching a unique poetry workshop in all 3rd grade classrooms for the Manhattan Beach Unified School District using a variety of “voice energies” to inspire poetic writing, while fostering social and emotional growth. Jennie has taught expressive writing workshops at UC Irvine Extension, the University of Santa Monica, the National Association for Poetry Therapy, and other organizations. For the past 14 years, Jennie has facilitated ongoing adult writing groups, and original curriculum for private clients exploring their life stories through reading and writing poetry. After graduating cum laude from Skidmore College with a BA in Psychology, and a concentration in dance, Jennie began her career in arts education coordinating artist-in-residency programs for Leap… imagination in learning in San Francisco, and the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Manhattan Beach. She has certification as an Applied Poetry Facilitator from the National Federation of Biblio/Poetry Therapy. She has also obtained an MA in Spiritual Psychology from the University of Santa Monica; a highly experiential counseling program which applies a soul-centered approach to mental and physical well-being. Jennie is the author of two books of poetry by Cardinal House Publishing: Silver Girl and Autism Disrupted: A Mother’s Journey of Hope. Her poetry has been featured in Edison Literary Review, Forge, Sanskirt Literary Arts Magazine, Kaleidoscope, and Bluestem magazines. Her work has been featured online at Hopeful Parents, Wellsphere, The SPD Blogger Network, and WOW! Women on Writing.

Stephanie Nash, MFA has an MFA from the Yale School of Drama, and a BA in psychology from Duke University. She has been a working actress in New York City and Los Angeles for 35 years in television, film, theater, and many commercials. Stephanie is also a respected acting teacher and audition coach, and is an original faculty member of the new UCLA Professional Program in Acting for the Camera – as well as an Associate Professor at Art Center College of Design (Film Directing Department.) Stephanie also taught expressive movement at University of Southern California, and comedy at the American Academy of Dramatic Art. In private practice, Stephanie coaches executives, professionals and special groups in mindful body language and public speaking. Stephanie has studied in the Alexander Technique, Body-Mind Centering, and other movement modalities. She founded Mindfulness Arts, a nonprofit organization devoted to helping people integrate mindfulness into their lives for better performance, creativity and ease. As a Mindfulness Coach and Integrative Counselor, Stephanie does speaking engagements and presentations all over the country, and as a top facilitator for Shinzen Young’s Basic Mindfulness system, Stephanie recently designed & implemented a mindfulness program for a Harvard Medical School brain study and recorded a stress-reduction app for a Carnegie Mellon study which will soon be available to the public. 

Myriam Savage (Mimi), PhD, RDT- BCT is a registered drama therapist and drama therapy trainer with a doctorate in expressive therapies. Dr. Savage, a faculty member of the Social Emotional Arts (SEA) Program and Medical SEA Program at UCLArts & Healing, teaches the uses of theatre arts, drama, and expressive therapies to practitioners for professional development. She has established drama therapy programs for children and adults in acute psychiatric in-patient units and implemented creative arts therapy programs in rehab facilities for young adults. Dr. Savage has taught critical thinking via theatre arts for developmentally delayed young adults at UCLA’s Pathway Program and facilitated acutely disabled youth in a LAUSD school implementing a creative drama curriculum. As a professional actress, she connected community needs with facilitation using dramatic arts after the 1992 Los Angeles Uprising. Joining coalitions of concerned, film and theater industry professionals, she mentored youth by using expressive and dramatic arts at the Virginia Avenue Project and in the acclaimed documentary, Through the Eyes of the Children: 113th and Central. Inspired by this and her concerns for social justice, she used her skills as a teaching artist developing and teaching VAPA curriculum at various SoCal school districts. Dr. Savage’s current research includes the intersection of narrative inquiry, digital apps, and drama therapy in arts-based studies focusing on self-identity with youth from foster care. Awarded grants for her work, she publishes and presents at conferences on drama therapy and recently completed facilitating a two-year, weekly expressive arts group with homeless women in L.A.’s skid row for a documentary production, Game Girls (2017 release). Her alma maters include Princeton University, Cal State University LA, Lesley University, and the Neighborhood Playhouse School conservatory in New York. She is on the board of the NADTA and is also its SoCal chapter President. Contact her at SoCal Drama Therapy Centre at www.socaldramatherapycenter.com or mimisavage@sfeala.com.