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" the world of art, one can get past the usual confinements..."
Reneé Emunah, Past President of the National Association for Drama Therapy

a message from the founding director

UCLArts and Healing was initiated in Fall 2004 to ascertain public interest in the arts as a tool for mind-body healing.  Experiential programs featuring different art forms were offered in collaboration with the UCLA Pediatric Pain Program, with support from the Salamander Fund.

The arts offer accessible, nonverbal, and universal tools for facilitating mind-body health, and they are easy to implement in medical, educational, and recreational settings. While the arts themselves are healing, even greater value can be obtained from the arts when a therapeutic dimension is added. Those who use the arts as therapy work through metaphor by focusing on the process of expression and the self that is revealed through it.  By reflecting on unconscious themes that emerge, the arts can heighten self-awareness, which allows for behavior change.1

The wide-range health value of the arts and the creative arts therapies is supported by a growing body of well-done scientific studies, a larger body of case studies, and observations by experts. For example, the arts have been used to improve recovery from injury,2 mental function,2 pain,2-4 depression,4 stress,5-7 self-esteem,8 quality of life during hospice care,9 anxiety in normal medical care10, 11 and medical procedures,12 substance abuse,13 child and adolescent behavior and development,14 immune function,15, 16 emotional trauma,17-19 and future risk of violence.20  Since the inception of UCLArts and Healing, many new publications have emerged that include rigorous randomized, controlled trials;  review articles that summarize studies on a specific subject;  and meta-analytic studies that draw conclusions by analyzing the combined findings of similar studies.  Many of the best articles,  books, and other sources of information, can be conveniently found in the resource section of this website, under "literature".

UCLArts and Healing maintains a strong commitment to facilitating the use of the arts for positive youth development because the therapeutic use of the arts may have their greatest impact on youth.  The arts do not bear the stigma of therapy and can accommodate the intensity of the adolescent experience.  The work of youth tends to be autobiographical in nature, which renders the self-revelatory value of therapeutic arts experiences even greater.21  Identifying and addressing social-emotional needs before the age of 10 may prevent lifelong maladaptive behavior such as aggression, substance abuse, and risky health behavior.22-31   

UCLArts and Healing develops and facilitates the use of sustainable tools to maximize the mind-body benefits of and access to the arts - for all.

We encourage each of you to participate actively with us, by sharing information on relevant programs, organizations, service providers, research, publications, training opportunities, conferences, websites, listservs, employment opportunities, funding opportunities, requests for proposals, and other resources, which you can conveniently submit on this interactive website in the "resources" section.

Together, we will add momentum to the movement to empower and transform lives, creatively.

Ms. Ping Ho, MA, MPH
Founding Director, UCLArts and Healing

  1. National Coalition of Creative Arts Therapies Associations. Available at: Accessed January 30, 2005.

  2. Pratt RR. Art, dance, and music therapy. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America. 2004;15:827-841.

  3. Lee DWH, Chan ACW, Wong SKH, et al. Can visual distraction decrease the dose of patient-controlled sedation required during colonoscopy? A prospective randomized controlled trial. Endoscopy. 2004;36:197-201.

  4. Siedlecki SL, Good MG. Effect of music on power, pain, depression and disability. Journal of Advanced Nursing. 2006;54(5):553 - 562.

  5. Walsh SM, Martin SC, Schmidt LA. Testing the Efficacy of a Creative-Arts Intervention With Family Caregivers of Patients With Cancer. J Nursing Scholarship. September 01, 2004 2004;36(3):214-219.

  6. Bittman B, T. BK, Stevens C, Westengard J, Umbach PO. Recreational music-making: a cost-effective group interdisciplinary strategy for reducing burnout and improving mood states in long-term care workers. Advances in Mind Body Medicine. 2003;19(3-4):4-15.

  7. Bittman BB, Snyder C, Bruhn K, et al. Recreational Music Making:  an integrative group intervention for reducing burnout and improving mood states in first year associate degree nursing students:  insights and economic impact. International Journal of Nursing Education Scholarship. 2004;1(1):article 12.

  8. White K, Allen  R. Art counseling in an educational setting: self-concept change among pre-adolescents. Journal of School Psychology. 1971;9(2):218-225.

  9. Hilliard RE. The effects of music therapy on the quality and length of life of people diagnosed with terminal cancer. Journal of Music Therapy. 2003;40(2):113-137.

  10. Evans D. The effectiveness of music as an intervention for hospital patients: a systematic review. Journal of Advanced Nursing. 2002;37(1):8-18.

  11. Hanser SB, Mandel SE. The effects of music therapy in cardiac healthcare. Cardiology in Review. 2005;13(1):18-23.

  12. Andrada JM, Vidal AA, Aguilar-Tablada TC, et al. Anxiety during the performance of colonoscopies: modification using music therapy. European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. 2004;16(12):1381-1386.

  13. Winkelman M. Complementary therapy for addiction: "drumming out drugs". American Journal of Public Health. 2003;93(4):647-651.

  14. Gold C, Voracek  M, Wigram T. Effects of music therapy for children and adolescents with psychopathology: a meta-analysis. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. 2004;45(6):1054-1063.

  15. Petrie KJ, Fontanilla I, Thomas MG, Booth RJ, Pennebaker JW. Effect of written emotional expression on immune function in patients with human immunodeficiency virus infection: a randomized trial. Psychosomatic Medicine. 2004;66(2):272-275.

  16. Bittman BB, Berk LS, Felten DL, et al. Composite effects of group drumming music therapy on modulation of neuroendocrine-immune parameters in normal subjects. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. 2001;7(1):38-47.

  17. Pennebaker JW. The effects of traumatic disclosure on physical and mental health: the values of writing and talking about upsetting events. International Journal of Emergency Mental Health. 1999;1(1):9-18.

  18. Sheese BE, Brown EL, Graziano WG. Emotional expression in cyberspace: searching for moderators of the Pennebaker disclosure effect via e-mail. Health Psychology. 2004;23(5):457-464.

  19. Chapman L, Morabito D, Ladakakos C, Schreler H, Knudson M. The effectiveness of art therapy interventions in reudcing post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms in pediatric trauma patients. Art Therapy Journal. 2001;18(2):100-108.

  20. Milliken R. Dance/movement therapy as a creative arts therapy approach in prison to the treatment of violence. The Arts in Psychotherapy. 2002;29:203-206.

  21. Emunah R. Expression and expansion in adolescence: the significance of creative arts therapy. The Arts in Psychotherapy. 1990;17:101-107.

  22. Is youth violence just another fact of life? American Psychological Association online. Available at: Accessed January 30, 2005.

  23. Austin EW. Reaching young audiences. In: Maibach E, Parrott RL, eds. Designing health messages. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications; 1995:114-145.

  24. Gordon N, McAlister A. Factors related to the onset of drinking and problem drinking. In: Coates T, Petersen AC, Perry C, eds. Promoting Adolescent Health: A Dialog on Research and Practice. New York: Academic Press; 1982.

  25. Highlights of a national adolescent school health survey on drug and alcohol use. Rockville, MD: National Institute on Drug Abuse.  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Mental Health Administration; 1988.

  26. Tremblay RE, Nagin DS, Seguin JR, et al. Physical aggression during early childhood: trajectories and predictors. Pediatrics. 2004;114:43-50.

  27. Loeber R, Farrington DP, Petechuk D. Child delinquency: early intervention and prevention. U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Available at: Accessed April 24, 2005.

  28. Brook JS, Whiteman M, Finch SJ, Cohen P. Young adult drug use and delinquency:childhood antecedents and adolescent mediators. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. 1996;35:1584-1592.

  29. Lipsey MW, Derzon JH. Predictors of violent or serious delinquency in adolescence and early adulthood: a synthesis of longitudinal research. In: Loeber R, Farrington DP, eds. Serious and Violent Juvenile Offenders: Risk Factors and Successful Interventions. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage; 1998:86-105.

  30. Loeber R. The stability of antisocial and delinquent child behavior: a review. Child Development. 1982;53:1431-1446.

  31. Loeber R. Antisocial behavior: more enduring than changeable? Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. 1991;30:393-397.

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