Arts & Healing: The Next New Movement

The arts are going to be the next major healing practice adopted by the public.

Why?

Because the arts are uniquely capable of building connection, giving voice to what is within, and evoking positive emotions.

As such, they are capable of addressing challenging or intractable conditions such as trauma, grief, chronic pain, social isolation, and intolerance in an organic, accessible, and sustainable way.

How?

By enhancing the innate benefits of the arts with the integration of mental health practices, such as language of nonjudgment to facilitate self-expression, reflection, and insight.

By making tools and learning opportunities available to everyone. For example, our annual experiential conference serves professionals from many sectors, and offers training in our Social Emotional Arts on a Shoestring program—designed for any population, setting, or budget. Our groundbreaking new book, The Innovative Parent: Raising Connected, Happy, Successful Kids through Art, will broadly support caregivers and those who work with children.

By offering trauma-informed, scripted materials with evidence-based approaches in collaboration with local and national organizations. For example, this year the Kennedy Center-based Turnaround Arts program has endorsed our program Beat the Odds: Social and Emotional Skill Building Delivered through a Framework of Drumming for its national community of underserved schools. And we also successfully launched a weekly Family Art Time program in collaboration with El Monte City School District’s Jeff Seymour Family Center.

There is a role for everyone in this movement.

If you seek training or experience in the field, you have many options: from enrolling in a professional degree program to utilizing programs that enable immediate implementation or volunteering. A list of options, including our popular Certificate Program in Social Emotional Arts, can be found in the FAQ section of our website.

If you are fully trained in the field, you won’t make yourself obsolete by sharing what you know; you will make yourself relevant. The public will look to you for leadership and mentorship. Whenever a new practice becomes mainstream, many versions of it will appear. This is to be expected and is a sign of growth. The answer is to educate and help everyone do what they do—better.

If you are interested in supporting efforts to grow this field, we welcome donations in any form—from monetary to space to special skills such as videography, film editing, online education, and research.

Wishing all a harmonious and meaningful holiday season and new year,

Ping

Founder and Director, UCLArts & Healing