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uclarts and healing launches Social Emotional Arts (SEA) Certificate Program

The Social Emotional Arts (SEA) Certificate Program empowers educators and community arts professionals in maximizing social-emotional benefits of arts experiences, and minimizing self-judgment and anxiety that can impede learning. Training 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.  The program not only teaches structured and scripted activities that can be used in the community, but also teaches trainees how to develop and deliver their own effective curricula for youth and other populations.  

Trainees that attend all sessions and complete all course requirements satisfactorily will obtain a Certificate in Social Emotional Arts from UCLArts and Healing, which is an organizational member of the UCLA Collaborative Centers for Integrative Medicine. Certificate holders that demonstrate solid mastery of SEA training practices may be recommended for future teaching opportunities in the community.  


Through eight Saturday training sessions, SEA trainees 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 the 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, UCLArts and Healing offers 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.

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. The National Education Association advocates the use of the arts as a "hook" for getting students interested in school. 

“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.”

“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!”

“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.”

“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.”

Scroll down for more trainee reflections on the SEA experience.

upcoming sessions:
Our Summer 2016 Intensive session will take place over two weekends, on 7/21 – 7/24 and 7/28 – 7/31. For more information on this session, click here.

Our Fall 2016 session will take place on 9/10, 9/24, 10/8, 10/22, 11/5, 11/12, 12/3, and 1/21. For more information on this session, click here.

SEA is offered annually in spring and fall, with the addition of a consolidated summer program that enables easier access for those from afar. If you would like early notification of future training program dates, please join our email list via the home page of this website and then email us at to let us know that you would like to be notified.

time: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

fee: $2,250

financial aid information:
Payment plans and partial scholarships are available to those in need of financial assistance. Decisions on partial scholarships will be based on a variety of considerations, such as financial need, experience, and potential for applying what is learned in the training. To apply for financial aid, please complete the
Financial Aid Form section of the application packet.

CEUS are available for an additional $125.

In Santa Monica, CA. Precise location varies with the season.

course syllabus:
The curriculum is experiential as well as didactic and is taught by board-certified creative arts therapists or individuals/teams with equivalent expertise. The training program is designed to reinforce learning by integration of important concepts across all sessions.

Sample Course Syllabus:

Session 1:
  • Introduction to Theory and Practice: The benefits of the arts, why social-emotional learning is important, and how to maximize social-emotional benefits sustainably through the arts. The principles of maximizing social-emotional benefits will be demonstrated experientially with didactic debriefing. [Ping Ho]
  • Presenting Yourself:  Vocal and physical techniques for strengthening confidence and presence in the classroom. Participants will each have an opportunity to work on and demonstrate their stronger voice in front of other members of the training program. [Stephanie Nash]
  • Communication:  Ground rules for establishing safe group interaction, setting boundaries, positive and specific verbal communication skills, and identifying and encouraging participant engagement through non-verbal cues.  Participants will learn specific language to encourage cooperation and cultural sensitivity.  Dyadic work will be used to build self-awareness of postural and other non-verbal messaging. [Kathy Cass]

Session 2:

  • Best Practices in Drumming: Beat the Odds: Social and Emotional Skill Building Delivered in a Framework of Drumming. This UCLA research-based program is scripted for clinical and rhythmic integrity and has been successfully delivered in many school settings. Strategies for the use of the program with different age groups will be offered. [Ping Ho]
  • Needs Assessment and Evaluation Strategies: Identifying the needs of the population that you are serving as well as the stakeholders in any given project. How to measure program outcomes and develop assessment tools. Participants will practice creating evaluation questions and will learn interactively. [Ping Ho]
Session 3 
  • Group Behavior Management: Rhythm and movement-based strategies for managing groups, getting group attention, and transitioning from one activity to another. The presentation will revolve around socially- and emotionally-supportive strategies that are largely nonverbal in nature to prevent the need for yelling and other types of reactive or interventionist forms of classroom management. [Camille Ameen and Kathy Cass]
  • Managing Special Needs: Understanding special needs. Nonverbal strategies for communication, stress reduction, and calming. Integration of students with special needs and regular students. Additional issues and methods to be considered in the delivery of arts experiences for special needs. [Camille Ameen and Kathy Cass]
  • Traumatic Responses and Self-Care: Identifying body language, movement patterns, and behavior that may be indicative of trauma. How to avoid unintentionally re-traumatizing participants through the arts. How to use breath, sound, and movement to manage traumatic responses and for general self-care. [Carolyn Braddock]
Session 4
  • Best Practices in Poetry: Participants will experience poetry-based activities designed to encourage creative self-expression and meaningful dialogue in youth and other populations. [Jennie Linthorst]

  • Best Practices in Music: Participants will learn experientially what constitutes relaxing music and sound, and will engage in an integrated arts experience of music, art and poetry. [Helen Dolas]

Session 5

  •  Best Practices in Dance/Movement: Participants will experience how to engage youth and other populations in dance/movement-based activities for expanding movement vocabulary, self-awareness, other awareness, and sense of community. Some of the activities will draw from Dance For All (DFA), a scripted therapeutic program based in dance/movement and yoga that can be adapted for a variety of populations. All activities will be enjoyable activities, and anyone can do them. [Gabrielle Kaufman and Kathy Cass]

Session 6

  • Best Practices in Art:  Participants will create art to communicate their thoughts and will experience art activities designed to facilitate meaningful social interaction.  Participants will also learn how to engage inquiry and facilitate dialogue about art without judgment. [Jessica Bianchi and Erica Curtis]

Session 7

  • Best Practices in Theater: Participants will experience theater-based activities that build self-esteem, spontaneous self-expression and positive social connection. This session integrates learning from other art forms and enables each participant to stretch their personal creativity in a safe and supportive environment. [Camille Ameen and Mimi Savage]

Session 8

  • Final Presentations and Feedback:  Prior to this weekend, trainees will work in small groups to develop a needs-assessment plan, arts-based curriculum, and evaluation strategy.  Each small group will facilitate their curriculum for other trainees in the course, who will participate fully in the experience.  Each group will receive feedback from a panel of instructors to prepare them for more effective delivery in the real world. [Camille Ameen, Kathy Cass, Erica Curtis, and Ping Ho]

instructor bios:

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 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 and Healing, which transforms lives through creative expression for self-discovery, connection, and empowerment (  UCLArts and 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.

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, PhD, RDT/BCT teaches artists, educators, and therapists through the UCLArts and Healing SEA Program. Dr. Savage is on staff facilitating holistic methods of using the arts as a tool for social, emotional and cognitive well-being. She taught critical thinking through improvisation at UCLA’s Pathway Program for developmentally delayed young adults as well as created drama therapy programs in acute psychiatric in-patient units as a member of rehab departments for adults and children (ages 5-12). She trained drama therapy and O.T. interns and worked with young adults in drug, alcohol, and self-harm rehabilitation. Her doctoral research with adopted adolescent girls from foster care used a novel method of drama therapy with digital media. Currently, she facilitates homeless women from skid row for a documentary project. As a teaching artist, she created year-round curriculum and original performance in theatre arts via the PS ARTS program for elementary and middle school youth. Dr. Savage implemented a creative drama program for acute physically and mentally challenged youth in a LAUSD special needs school. She is the Southern California chapter president of the North American Drama Therapy Association, (NADTA), and the Western Regional NADTA representative. Dr. Savage presents at national conferences on drama therapy, and is a recipient of the 2014 Drama Therapy Fund Professional Research Grant and 2015 Lesley University New Pilot Study Grant. A graduate of Princeton University and CSULA, she received her doctoral degree from Lesley University. She also completed conservatory training at the Neighborhood Playhouse School, NYC. A professional actress of theatre, television, and film, she has a private practice for professional development and facilitation in drama and expressive therapies called Studio for Expressive Arts LA:

registration instructions:
Advanced registration is required for this program. Due to the preparation required for this training program, we are unable to accept drop-ins. To register, please complete the following steps:

Step 1: Download and fill out a
SEA Registration Application Packet.
  • If applying for Financial Aid, please also complete the Financial Aid Form section of the application packet.
Step 2: Email the completed SEA Registration Application Packet back to us at

Step 3: Reserve your seat by completing your online registration. Note that payment must be received in order to guarantee enrollment. ou regarding registration or program changes (if necessary).

refund policy:
Cancellation refund requests must be received two weeks prior to the first day of the program, and submitted in writing to with the subject header: SEA Cancellation Refund Request. Registrants will be refunded in full, less a $100 administrative fee. Those who submit refund requests less than two weeks prior to the program, or who do not show up on the day of the program, will receive credit good for one year towards a future offering of the SEA program.

before the first day of the training:
Upon completing registration, you will be emailed the complete set of course assignments. Spring and Fall participants only need to complete one assignment in advance of the training. Summer intensive participants should plan to complete seven assignments in advance of the training, in order to reduce their workload during the one-week training.

continuing education units (CEU) information:
Provider Name: Arts and Healing Initiative, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Provider Number: 4468.

Continuing Education credits for LCSWs, MFTs, and RNs can be requested during the registration process for an additional $125.00. This course meets the qualifications for 56 hours of continuing education credit for MFTs and/or LCSWs, as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences.

Continuing Education Units for RNs are provided by Helen Kiger, Provider No. CEP10957. This class is approved for 56 contact hours of continuing education credit for RNs as required by the CA Board of Registered Nursing.
If you are interested in CEUs for RNs, then please also let us know via email at, with the subject header, "RN CEU Request," so we can ensure we have the appropriate paperwork prepared for you in advance.

learning objectives for CEUs:
1. Participants will learn ground rules for establishing safe group interaction, setting boundaries, positive and specific verbal communication skills, and identifying and encouraging participant engagement through non-verbal cues.

2. Participants will learn rhythm and movement-based strategies for managing groups, getting group attention, and transitioning from one activity to another, to prevent the need for yelling and other types of reactive or interventionist forms of classroom management.

3. Participants will learn to use nonverbal strategies for communication, stress reduction, calming, and will learn how to integrate students with special needs and regular students. 

4. Participants will learn body language and movement patterns that are indicative of trauma, how to avoid unintentionally re-traumatizing participants through the arts, how to respond to trauma, and how to use breath, sound, and movement as a grounding strategy. 

5. Participants will learn experiential examples of poetry and writing-based activities in schools designed to maximize social and emotional benefits.

6. Participants will learn experiential examples of drumming-based activities in schools designed to maximize social and emotional benefits.

7. Participants will learn experiential examples of how music can affect children, adolescents, and special needs populations.

8. Participants will learn experiential examples of dance/movement-based activities in schools designed to maximize social and emotional benefits.

9. Participants will learn experiential examples of visual arts-based activities in schools designed to maximize social and emotional benefits.

10. Participants will learn experiential examples of theater-based activities in schools designed to maximize social and emotional benefits.

11. Participants will be able to state two ways in which this information can be useful in the practice of nursing.

for more information: 
Please submit questions via email to or telephone us at (310) 452-1439.

trainee reflections on the SEA experience:  scroll to bottom for longer unsolicited letter from an art instructor for PS Arts, that details her implementation of this work in an after school setting.

Significant AHAs or ways in which the SEA program was meaningful professionally or personally (from anonymous post-program surveys):

Main AHA - 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!

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.

I have learned a great deal from the program...I was so inspired by all the instructors that came.  Everyone had something different to contribute, yet they all flowed (the ideas flowed) all together.  Everything was connected.  This was such a great program and it was designed in such a way that made me feel comfortable and it brought out the best in me.

Pure enjoyment! Very stimulating intellectually.  Professionally stimulating and challenging.  Best of the best instructors.  Attitudes and approach to kids, culture, etc.  Broadened sensitivity and awareness.  Super info and activities - very user-friendly and useful with many populations.

SO many AHA's…seriously.  To sum it up the AHA is that expressive arts help to process feelings and emotions in a space where there are often no words.  This is powerful!

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!

Every individual outside specialist gave me gems of knowledge.

I entirely loved taking part in this program and learned so much. Before I came here, I struggled with the language that could explain/communicate the benefits of the work I'm doing with Ragdolls and the social, emotional, and cognitive objectives were exactly the tool I was looking for.

It so expanded and gave permission to my creative side to explore, to open, to be a fearless kid again.

Inspired to learn more in order to focus on social emotional learning and expressive arts for the second half of my career! Thanks!  I found my tribe - a place where I could be seen without judgment. The strategies for managing challenging behaviors without judging or shaming were EXCELLENT!

This program gave me the opportunity to become more familiar with different types of arts.  I am more confident in incorporating different mediums in my programs/workshops I am planning to offer.

This program was awesome through and through.  I enjoy being able to expose myself to all the different art forms - not just one, which is a huge benefit of this class.  Through it I was able to see what I am really interested in, what passions really draw me and what I feel more comfortable with.  Getting to be in class with such different people with such different experiences and backgrounds was a true blessing.  I feel very enriched in my knowledge as well as my opportunities I have for the future. This class provided me with a number of management tools for working with children in general, not just in the context of teaching a SEA class to a school, etc.  There were also a lot of great tools for working with people in general, not just youth.  THIS GROUP ROCKS!! We all connected really well, and we had a great vibe.  I am so grateful I got to spend this time with these people, and I will miss our classes together.

I really enjoyed learning about all the art forms. I wouldn't have tried all of them on my own and learned a lot about myself and the mediums from this experience.

So many wonderful tips! Most meaningful personally--Just the space of like-minded individuals who seek to support, heal, communicate/process and just have fun and laugh.

The experience working with the facilitators and hearing their advice about how to work with kids and/or vulnerable populations was valuable to me.  It was always meaningful to hear their stories and learn from their direct experience.  Each class experience was different and each art modality valuable.  I appreciate the wealth of information offered to us during SEA.  It has truly been a special experience.  I've also made meaningful connections here with the other members and facilitators. *Great to be around and work with others who take emotions seriously and take empathy to heart.


Messages to potential participants regarding the SEA experience and its benefits (from anonymous post-program surveys):  

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.

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!

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 Program is a perfect compliment to an arts educator, health professional and classroom teacher. Skills learned were not only appropriate for an art education but for teachers in general. A worthwhile program.

I have taken arts education courses for a few years and this one offered great resources and expert speakers.

I highly recommend this program to artist educators as an excellent tool to see how their art form can be utilized for social emotional and cognitive goals.

I highly recommend this class for all the new tools you will learn and bring in the classroom based in the creative arts.  You will learn arts learning from beginning to end. You will have an abundance of resources and many opportunities and fantastic resources. This class will be a tremendous gift to you!

It opened up so many possibilities in the arts as healing modalities.  It's given me more tools as a teacher in my personal life. I'd like to create a program for adults and children using as much of what I've gained from this program as possible.  It's been a full, rich, profound and fun experience. Thank you.

The SEA Program is a phenomenal opportunity for arts educators to expand and refine our skills.  Come prepared to dive in and work hard and know that each week you will take away practical tools to use with your students.


Unsolicited letter from Debbie Kazel Sipos, music teacher and music therapy student

Dear Ping and Kathy,

Hope you are both doing well and enjoying some down time after our Summer SEA Intensive.

I have attached a recording of The SEA Song for you.  It was recorded on my iphone so I hope the quality is ok.  If you want another copy of the lyrics as well just let me know.

Also, I wanted to take a moment to thank you both again personally for making it possible for me to participate in the SEA Summer Intensive.  What an awesome, life-changing program!  It was eye opening, and has put arts therapy into a whole new perspective for me. I honestly don't know how you were able to pack so much quality education from such inspiring and knowledgeable presenters into such a short period of time, but it was nothing short of amazing!!!

I have made friendships to last a lifetime and have spent the last week and a half processing all of the information and thoroughly re-reading through all of the material and articles so that they are very clear in my mind going into the new school year.  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.

It will be my pleasure to highly recommend this program to my friends, classmates, colleagues and family.  From my perspective, 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 Sipos


Unsolicited letter from Deborah Scott Studebaker, writer and writing teacher, written in response to an inquiry by a prospective trainee

I’m not exaggerating when I say that the SEA program changed my life. I’m a writer and a writing teacher with a background in mind/body awareness techniques. This course filled in the gaps in my training, and gave me some important protocols—like playful classroom management strategies, the importance of reflection, and how to create needs assessments. I connected with amazing people and got reconnected with music. I started out many years ago in the record business, and the Beat the Odds course—which is also encompassed within the SEA program—put me back on the road to the powerful experience of making music with others. Now I’m a passionate drum circle enthusiast and new facilitator.

The SEA program is challenging, and rigorous in unexpected ways. 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


Unsolicited message from Kate Pomatti, art teacher at Lincoln Middle School in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District

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.


Unsolicited message from Kiersten, SEA Summer Intensive trainee

...I love this program. I can't wait to go back to work and bring back your drumming program. I think that it will fit so well with my group with middle schoolers.  I felt a calling to this program that is difficult to explain. People thought I was crazy to come all the way down to this big city with 3 little kids in tow. I told the nay sayers that I just "knew" it was what I needed to do. Ping, your work is going to change the lives for kids in my li'l town. 


Unsolicited letter from June Edmonds, who teaches art in schools through P.S. Arts, a nonprofit organization that offers arts programs to underserved schools and communities in the Greater Los Angeles area

Hi Ping,

I hope you are well.  I know you are interested in how your students are doing and using the techniques taught/being taught in the UCLArts SEA Program.

Still, I enjoy having our notebooks as a ready resource for class time ideas.  I am most interested in stronger transitioning and the SEA curriculum is a good resource for this.  It is a great challenge to figure in most activities during my P.S. Arts Day. 

I have five to six classes a day anywhere from 30 - 50 minutes long.  These students are also getting music and drama so the expectations are high on making sure the students get enough time to create in the 11 sessions I see them.

I look forward to creatively brainstorming over the summer on ways of integrating social and emotional considerations in my curriculum as it is being written this time as opposed to figuring out ways to do so for curriculum that has already been created by me much earlier.

But the great news is that I have a once a week after school program in Lennox I have much more freedom with.  At the beginning of the year (January), I was pretty frustrated with many aspects of this program.  I have three groups, two 45 minutes classes (no breaks in between classes) and then a 25 minute class, so my main frustration was how limited our time was.  But I decided to figure out a way to work in some social/emotional activities

I ordered a green carpet to begin doing meditation, guided visualization, communication and movement exercises on with the students, most activities from your curriculum.  It’s been two and a half months now and what I am seeing happen is kind of amazing.  

When we began, most of the kids would giggle through the meditation or play around during the activity time.  I understood how strange these activities must have been for them because I imagine how new they must have been for them.  But I did what was suggested during our training and asked them how they felt afterward and I was getting answers like "peaceful" and "more relaxed" and decided it was worth continuing.

During our One-Minute-Each-Number-Ones-Talk-Number-Twos-Listen and reverse activity, my two wildest boys were partners.  After the activity was over they both expressed feeling as if they were being listened to for the very first time.  I cracked up to myself as I pictured in my mind their typical communication of talking AT each other at the same time! 

The students never want to stop doing these activities.  Always, they say, "Can we do it again?!"  I have had to train myself to quickly begin our art activity and use the momentum of the last activity as their ability to focus and dig deeper within is seeming to be enhanced by these preliminary activities.

Now the kids come in saying, "May I pull out the rug!?  We are going to meditate, right?"  "Can we do the movement exercise?  Can we do the talking one?!"  They look forward to these activities and even trust me when I have a new one for them.

Their activity skills are improving.  In the meditation, their posture improves, their focus, their technique.  They are becoming more trusting and feeling safer, just yesterday I got away with saying, "this time, listeners, look acceptingly and lovingly at the one communicating", during our communication activity and most did just this.

A new student came in, Charisse, a couple weeks ago.  She was stand-offish, a bit angry and not communicative at all.  Within a week or two, I saw her transform and become one of the group comfortably.  I heard about another student, Julian who fought with one other student the week before who was new to the group about a month ago.  It seems Julian seems safe to not be so combative… in fact I have barely seen this side to him.  He always comes in smiling and anticipating.

The other wonderful result is that I am enjoying this so much.  I look forward to these classes in general and also getting on the green mat, "the island" as much as they do.  I do all the activities with them and they seem to enjoy this. 

I am cc'ing Elda, my supervisor at P.S. Arts to share too with her a bit about what we learned in class and the value it has added to us teaching artists that were able to attend this program.  Thank you again, Elda for the contribution that P. S. Arts made for our being enriched by UCLArts SEA.

There was so much more learned in the program and I am very much looking forward to getting around to implementing so much more when the opportunity permits.  I hope I didn't go on too long.

Warm Regards and thank you, Ping,

June Edmonds

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