Raising Connected, Happy, Successful Kids through Art

Raising-Connected_LogoLearn how to harness play and creativity to engage more effectively with children.

Our experiential program provides parents, teachers, and other community members with tools for building social, emotional, and cognitive skills in children; it aims to:

  • Redirect and shift energy in children
  • Get attention without having to use one’s voice
  • Establish boundaries and engage cooperation playfully
  • Communicate nonverbally, when words aren’t working
  • Support emotional safety and academic effort with non-judgmental language
  • Respond to difficult emotions or traumatic stress reactions
  • Facilitate interpersonal problem solving and decision making
  • Build self-care into daily life


Young-Girl-PaintingThe curriculum and training was conceived from The Innovative Parent: Raising Connected, Happy, Successful Kids through Art (Ohio University/Swallow Press, Spring 2019), the new book on parenting by art therapist Erica Curtis, LMFT, ATR-BC and Ping Ho, MA, MPH, Founder & Director of UCLArts & Healing. Raising Connected, Happy, Successful Kids through Art trainings have been successfully launched in the El Monte City School District for parents and staff. Survey feedback shows that participants find the tools exceedingly useful as well as easy to implement. The trainings in El Monte are being offered with simultaneous interpretation in different languages and translated handouts.


Child Drawing SunLearn simple and practical art therapy-based tools to help children and teens understand and express their emotions, communicate nonverbally when words aren’t working, build connections with others, develop problem-solving skills, and much more. Engage in hands-on art activities to inspire the development of novel ideas for addressing challenging behaviors at home or in therapeutic settings.

Our inaugural public workshops will take place in the 2019-2020 academic year. Arrangements for private workshops can be made at any time. Click here to watch a brief, animated video about The Innovative Parent: Raising Connected, Happy, Successful Kids through Art, which offers examples of the kinds of tools that will be shared in the program.


Erica Curtis, LMFT, ATR-BC is a Board Certified Art Therapist and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Erica is an internationally sought speaker on creative approaches to emotional and relationship health. She regularly serves as a mental health expert for articles, appearing in more than 100 media outlets including: USA Today, ELLE, The Boston Globe, PBS, and Women’s World Magazine, to name a few. Formerly an instructor in the Loyola Marymount University Department of Marriage and Family Therapy with a specialization in art therapy, she now serves as their admissions consultant and maintains a therapy practice in San Juan Capistrano. Erica has served multiple terms on the board of directors of the American Art Therapy Association, is a past president of the Southern California Art Therapy Association, and was formerly clinical director at the Help Group, a widely respected Los Angeles non-profit agency. Erica serves as an expert consultant for organizations such as The Foundation for Art and Healing and the Board of Behavioral Sciences, for whom she consults on standard of care in disciplinary cases brought against therapists. She also supervises art therapy interns. Erica is an award-winning author, with Ping Ho, of The Innovative Parent: Raising Connected, Happy, Successful Kids through Art.  

PingHo-Headshot-Landscape-LoResPing Ho, MA, MPH is Founder and Director of UCLArts & Healing, an organizational member of the UCLA Integrative Health Collaborative, of which Ping is a steering committee member. She was founding administrator for the UCLA Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology, 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. She has a BA in psychology with honors from Stanford—where she was appointed to establish the still-thriving Health Improvement Program for faculty and staff, an MA in counseling psychology with specialization in exercise physiology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an MPH in community health sciences from UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. Ping is associate editor for the Creative Arts Therapies section of the Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. She spearheaded the Certificate Program in Social Emotional Arts (SEA) and the SEA on a Shoestring program of supportive art, movement, music, and writing for individuals or groups in any setting. In addition, she co-developed and served as principal investigator for the evidence-based program, Beat the Odds®: Social and Emotional Skill Building Delivered in a Framework of Drumming.  She is co-author, with Erica Curtis, of the 2019 National Parenting Products Award-winning book, The Innovative Parent: Raising Connected, Happy, Successful Kids through Art (Ohio University/Swallow Press, March 2019).