The Healing Power of Creative Arts
The act of creating happens in real time. When we dance, make a painting, or play music, we are “in the moment.” We are present only to what is happening right now. Creative arts are a meditative process because they allow the mind and body to relax into the present. In addition, use of the arts in healing does not contradict the medical view in bringing emotional, psychological, artistic, and spiritual dimensions to healing. Rather, it complements the medical view by focusing on the holistic nature of the person.
Researchers Stuckey and Nobel concluded in their article The Connection Between Art, Healing, and Public Health: A Review of Current Literature, “Despite methodological and other limitations, the studies included in our review appear to indicate that creative engagement can decrease anxiety, stress, and mood disturbances…Through creativity and imagination, we find our identity and our reservoir of healing. The more we understand the relationship between creative expression and healing, the more we will discover the healing power of the arts.”
Creative Arts Therapy
Creative Arts Therapy is the use of a creative art such as painting, music or dance to improve psychological, physical, and emotional health and alleviate suffering. By creating music, painting a picture, or moving in a new way, creative arts therapy participants are able to lower anxiety, reduce pain, access blocked emotions, and alleviate depression.
A Tale of Two Brains
Creative Arts Therapy allows participants to utilize their brain differently providing significant relief. The left side of the brain is responsible for analysis, verbal skills, and intense focus. Sometimes, this side of the brain is over-stimulated leaving people anxious, overly critical of themselves and hyper focused on events and situations. Creative arts therapy allows participants to access the right side of the brain, which is responsible for the senses, abstract thought, connecting concepts, and seeing the “big picture.” Our programs provide the opportunity for participants to experience the significant relief that using the right side of the brain provides.
Creative connection uses music therapy in group settings to help clients improve their health in several way, such as reducing depression, improving motor skills, emotional development, social skills, and improving the quality of life, by using music experiences such as free improvisation, singing, and listening to, making music for relaxation. We utilize a team of musicians and mental health professionals to customize and deliver the programs on site at clients’ facilities.
Art therapy helps people in many ways. It can help people connect with and express what is going on inside of them. Often feelings and emotions can get trapped and are inaccessible using traditional talk therapy. Art therapy can help access these emotions in a gentle, but powerful way, moving through areas of blockage to release.
In addition, art therapy can help people relax and find relief from both anxiety and pain. Creating art in a group setting provides the opportunity for participants to connect to themselves and to connect to others in the group. Increasing social connections increases participants feelings of self-esteem and may improve their support system.
Who Can Benefit from Creative Arts Therapy?
We believe that all people benefit from creative arts activities. However, certain populations receive phenomenal healing benefits from creative arts therapy.
- Cancer Patients
- PTSD and Trauma Survivors
- Addiction Recovery
- Parkinson’s Patients
- Autism Spectrum
- Alzheimer’s & Dementia Patients
- Depression and Mental Health
- Caretakers and Direct Care Givers
Nonprofit work can be extremely stressful, as professional must often stretch limited funding and provide services to increasing numbers of clients. Long hours and numerous deadlines can often leave nonprofit professionals depleted and burned out. To combat this, Creative Connection provides facilitated stress-management programs, especially designed for nonprofit professionals.
By creating music, painting a picture, or moving in a new way, creative arts wellness participants are able to bring a part of themselves out into the world and to experience the world in different way, permitting the over-used hyper-critical part of the brain to relax. This shift in consciousness provides significant relief, allowing the emotional and physical bodies to heal. The results are generally quite profound with participants expressing deep satisfaction.
Heal the Healer
There are many healers in the nonprofit world. Caring for others is essential to the job. And taking care of others can be quite draining. That’s why we designed the “Heal the Healers” program, which focused on the specific needs of healers. We are able to help healers to replenish some of the energy they give out on a daily basis.
In this series of programs, we help healers reconnect to themselves, fill up their deep reserves, and connect to like minded professionals. This is a very customized program, which generally includes music therapy, art therapy, yoga, and gentle movement.
Participation in any form of creative arts has multiple positive benefits. Research in the last decade has shown that creative expression is an effective tool for creating wellness.
- Drumming reduces anxiety and depression, improves social resilience and inflammatory immune response. – Fancourt, Perkins et al, Plos One Journal, 2016
- Visual Arts improve psychological well being and social functioning, reduce symptoms of physical and emotional stress and increase positive emotions. Stuckey and Nobel, 2010, American Journal of Public Health
- Dancing increases neural pathways and reduces the risk of dementia by 76%. Verghese, New England Journal of Medicine
- Expressive Writing improves control over pain, depressed mood, and pain severity. Stuckey and Nobel, 2010, American Journal of Public Health
- Combined Creative Arts – decreases anxiety, stress, and mood disturbances, and improves psychological and physical well-being and quality of life. Stuckey and Nobel, 2010, American Journal of Public Health
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“I’ve heard all positive feedback. Thanks for all you do to make these classes so special for our clients. ”
“We have experienced positive outcomes with our art therapy classes. We are so pleased that Creative Connections is helping us to provide another creative therapeutic outlet for our clients.”
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We help people connect with themselves and their community.