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Dr. Ilene Serlin Presentation at APA, Denver, Aug. 3-7th, 2016.

Published on 7/12/2016

Presentations: American Psychological Association, Denver, Aug. 3-7th, 2016.


Sat., 8/6/16, 10 AM-11:45 AM, Convention Center Room 102


Self Care-Expressive Writing and Artful Practices Creating Well-Being

Creativity and engagement in the arts provides practitioners with meaningful opportunities for professional and personal development, and can be an important avenue to well-being, self-care and renewal.  Art is a universal way to make meaning of our experience, to enlarge our world, to create an opportunity for empathy and to celebrate our shared humanity as well as our diverse perspectives.  When we engage in the arts we “wash the dust of daily life off our souls” and polish our trade.  Evidence which supports the benefits of engagement in the arts will be presented.  Ways in which creativity can promote the consolidation of life narrative, meaning, integrity, clinical competence and wisdom will be explored. Using illustrative art and accompanying narratives, we will explore the growth-provoking potential of creativity in the lives and work of psychotherapists. Themes expressed through all of the art forms range from loss, injury and illness; personal and social transformation; clinical understanding,  intimacy, spirituality, joy, playfulness and reverence in the human connection with nature. Dr. Serlin will discuss arts and health and the contributions of art and expressive therapies including dance and movement to promote wellbeing.  Dr. McCrory will explore how creative engagement can be a meaningful part of self-care and development for the independent practitioner. Dr. Entin as discussant and cochair will consider the question “What is healing about art”?


Arts and Health

Ilene A. Serlin, Ph.D. BC-DMT


Arts promote health. Traditional healers were artists, and contemporary healing practices draw on the arts. Studies show that the artistic endeavor may reduce stress and health complaints, improve immune function, provide both physical and psychological benefits, and even help people live longer. Work by Pennebaker, Kiecolt-Glaser, and others support the many healthy functions of emotional disclosure and the relationship of different modes of expression to brain function. The need to create, communicate, create coherence, and symbolize is a basic human need. Art provides access to multiple modes of intelligence (Gardner, 1993), thinking, communicating, and problem solving. Arts expand psychological horizons. From this affirmation of life comes the healing medicine of creation. Providing nonverbal and symbolic ways to express trauma, the arts help re-integrate broken parts of the self and the psyche, and evokes images of wholeness. And since so many psychologists are now emerging as artists, art can be very valuable in promoting resiliency, wellness, and self-care.

Ilene Serlin Sig