Arts and Self-Expression for Health and Wellbeing

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Certificate in Arts and Self-Expression for Health and Wellbeing

Certificate Director: Ruth Richards, M.D., Ph.D.

The Creativity Studies Specialization offers a Certificate that will be of interest to a variety of individuals such as artists, educators, consultants, therapists, coaches, and more! The Certificate will help individuals to access arts and the creative process to increase psychological and physical healing, to advance growth, and to enhance personal and group development. These methods have been used singly and together in multiple contexts, including conflict resolution, organizational development, clinical interventions, educational enhancement, and by those on a spiritual path. Certificate requirements may be completed in one academic year, if the student wishes, or extended to interface with other activities.

Using the languages of the arts, with focus on process, learning, and growth—and not on specifics of a fixed creative product—participants discover new depth, perspectives, ways of knowing, solutions, and a vast richness of experience. Such advances are well supported both by practice and psychological research; academic and research grounding in creativity studies and the arts will also be an important part of this program. It will also serve well for those who continue on for a graduate degree and who want to do arts-based research. This is not a Certificate for clinical training, but can be used by trained clinicians, as well as other professionals, and by those wishing personal growth, challenge, enchantment, and fun. The expressive arts component provides a foundation for pursuing REACE credentialing through

As with many other Saybrook Certificates programs, the academic requirements involve successful completion of four 3-credit courses, a 3-credit practicum, and a 1-credit integrative paper. There is also a ½ day residential intensive that is completed during enrollment.

The Certificate program includes a multimodal Expressive Arts track or a track focusing more on individual modalities, such as visual arts, music, or writing. CS 4500: Dimensions of Creativity is a required course for both tracks. CS 6606: Introduction to Expressive Arts is also required for the expressive arts option. Other courses are electives, chosen by students in consultation with Certificate faculty, from courses including CS 4520: Art and Healing, CS 3010: Art-Based Inquiry, CS 4510: Perspectives in Creativity, and other approved electives or courses for which students contract with faculty for their own purposes. Electives in poetry, music, and creative writing, among others, will be forthcoming as Saybrook courses, and can also be taken now as a Directed Study with particular faculty members. The other courses are, in most cases, to be taken with a Certificate faculty member and in some cases there will special assignment choices for expressive arts, and arts and self-expression, students.

Onsite Experience
The Certificate program begins with a half-day onsite immersion experience and will typically be offered during or adjacent to a Saybrook Residential Conference (RC). Depending on scheduling and where you reside, this experience might involve extra hotel or travel expense; however, no extra fee will be required for this half-day residential experience. Activities for this immersion experience will draw upon cooperating Certificate program faculty, while introducing students and faculty to each other, and opening up a range of arts possibilities. It is also designed to establish a supportive community atmosphere and identity. Do note this broad exposure is not about expertise—not at all. There is no prerequisite in any of these arts areas, aside from interest and curiosity! Our work is about process, personal and group learning, finding new ways of knowing and experiencing, and growth and self-development.

The immersion experience will also allow for the forming of a cohort—an active and diverse arts community we hope will continue during the year and after the Certificate ends—as well as providing a deep and experiential introduction. Following the immersion workshop, students will choose at least one seminar related to their particular arts interest at two RCs, attend Creativity Studies luncheon meetings and presentations at RCs, and participate in regular conference calls and sharing. Cohort group experiences will be involving, community-building, trust-promoting, and creativity-facilitating. In certain cases, on recommendation of Certificate program faculty, a finishing student may be given the option to be a facilitator for the next year’s incoming group.

In the case of students who decide to register for the Certificate after that year’s immersion experience has already taken place, those students may take it during a later offering in order to complete the Certificate requirements. However, we hope to make this Certificate program and its choices widely known so that interested students can decide to enroll early, and have the benefit of this experiential immersion and cohort formation.

The practicum experience (CS 8151) will be individually designed by the student in consultation with program faculty, based on his or her sub-specialization and goals. For some students it could involve expressive arts interventions, with research-based assessments in hospitals, schools, community organizations, or other settings related to student interests. For others it could involve expressive writing for health and well-being, to just take two examples. Participants will present their projects to the group at an RC Creativity Studies Specialization meeting or via a phone conference or video conference call.

Integrative Paper
This capstone paper (CS 8950) is designed to allow reflection, assessment of progress, integration of experience and academic learning, and forward projection into how one will use these learnings and skills. It also invites a look into other competencies one might still wish to add.

Learning and Practice Objectives
After completing this Certificate program, the student will be able to:
• Discuss the nature of creativity and ways it may be modeled and also studied further.
• Explain the features and advantages of arts for healing, discovery, and growth, and of expressive arts as a multimodal process.
• Use a range of arts modalities in more than one setting, including facilitation, education, and consultation.
• Be able to cite relevant literature on the efficacy of specific methods for certain client populations.
• Be able to personally use and be freely able to work with a variety of modalities.
• Be able to explain how each modality can build on the others, including movement, visual arts, writing, song, and other expressions.
• Develop skills in accessing one’s own thoughts, emotions, intentions, and in solving personal problems—be familiar with blocks and obstacles to this deep work. Be able to help facilitate the process of others.
• Develop group skills for sharing of personal work and related thoughts and feelings, to increase trust and empathy, and help individuals through tough places.
• Compare these group settings to our usual social contexts, and articulate social issues for deeper mutual understanding and ability to co-create.
• Articulate theoretical underpinnings and future challenges for arts in the world.
• Be able to propose a research project in arts and self-expression (whether the project will be done or not), showing ability to approach this work and its potential through disciplined inquiry.
• Be able to articulate one’s own code of ethics for process work with arts in social and institutional settings. For expressive arts, this may relate to guidelines for IEATA, which will be studied and compared.

Note on Certification and Future Options    
This short 16-credit Certificate program is a good start in many ways. It is also a way for someone new to the exceptional potential of the arts to explore an area or areas of interest. However, please note that the Certificate offers several tracks and options. It is not only directed to the multimodal, process-, and group-oriented area of Expressive Arts. Some people may wish to focus only on one modality, such as poetry or creative writing.

Furthermore, for those in the Expressive Arts track, the Certificate is a start, but is not sufficient in itself for certification with the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association ( as an educator/consultant. Our offerings may, however, count toward such certification. (There is further coursework and practicum hours to satisfy before IEATA certification can apply.)

We are happy to talk with you about the requirements and next steps for individuals interested in completing the Certificate program. Our faculty include multimodal expressive artists, licensed clinicians, members of the Writers’ Guild and the American Society of Journalists and Authors, a visual artist credentialed for public school teaching, workshop facilitators, coaches, widely published writers of academic, poetic, and creative books and papers, and other arts experts and teachers across disciplines, as well as three enthusiastic IEATA members.

In addition, please note: We are neither providing clinical training, nor coursework for the IEATA clinician certification. Our focus is for educators and consultants. Saybrook offers specific clinical programs for people wishing such training. However, established clinicians who are already licensed may well wish to add our options to their practice and resume. Hence, we offer, through this Certificate program, some engaging first steps in several directions, and are equipped and pleased to help those interested in going further.

Learning and Teaching Approach
There will be a cohort of co-learners who move through the Certificate program together and share experiences while developing their unique interests. The goal is to have an interesting, diverse, and active arts community. The core course, Dimensions of Creativity, will be completed in a virtual classroom for this group, which will also help solidify the group, and help members share interests with each other. Each member will post at least two times per week. There will also be regular conference calls and group meetings, plus cohort meals at Residential Conferences for those who attend. The onsite experiential activities are central and required of all participants, as above. Learners will share with others in several venues, drawing from coursework, and in particular from practicum activities, most notably doing formal presentations at Residential Conferences, and in other venues with each other.

What Is Next
For more information, please complete the form on the right. You may check multiple options. Note you may enroll in this Certificate as a non-degree student. The next cohort will begin in the fall 2014 semester, with a ½ day residential experience linked to the August 2014 Residential Conference. You can sign up now or consult with program faculty to see if this is right for you. Go to Apply Online and select the desired options. Saybrook degree students may also sign up for this Certificate program as part of or in addition to degree course requirements.

Call the Saybrook Admissions Office at 1-800-825-4480 for further information.