Guest Editorial By Dr. Colleen Moss
It is exciting to see that the value of healing arts is being recognized! The article in this month’s National Geographic, titled “The Invisible War on the Brain”, illustrates this beautifully. This article describes a program instituted at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (part of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center).
In this program, art therapists work with service members to create masks that represent the often-invisible physical and emotional traumas that they have experienced as a result of blast injuries.
The images of the masks that the service members created are powerful, as are the testimonies of those who participated in the program. Coincidentally, we are launching two healing-through-art type programs right now in the San Diego area that mirror the message of healing through arts in this great article.
The CSU Shiley Institute for Palliative Care is partnering with the marines at Camp Pendleton in San Diego to train facilitators in the skills of healing through art. That program is not open to the public yet but we’ll keep you informed on how it progresses.
Our first step is to train local facilitators in the skills necessary to use art as a healing tool. The second step will be to bring in actual military participants for these facilitators to work with.
The poster the Institute designed to invite the marines at Camp Pendleton (right) to the series of workshops was inspired by the National Geographic story.
As I read this article, I thought about those of us who struggle with other bumps, challenges, and traumas in our lives. Most of our wounds are “invisible”, just like the blast wounds of our wounded warriors. The creative process allows us to externalize these wounds – to make them visible, both to ourselves and to others around us. This is a powerful first step in the healing process, and this is what makes healing arts such a transformative experience.
The CSU Shiley Institute for Palliative Care recognizes the healing power of these programs, and recognizes the impact they have on quality of life. This is why I collaborate with them to deliver these programs to the community. If you would like to experience this transformative process for yourself, join us for a full day of healing arts experiences on March 21st.
The Institute’s campus partner – CSU Shiley Institute for Palliative Care at California State University San Marcos, is bringing our HeArt Healing Retreat to the public in the San Diego area.
This program is open to the public and will be a very experiential healing-arts class. Fellow artist, Marilyn Huerta and myself will facilitate it.
We have both been trained in the healing process and have been involved in art for many years. This course is open to anyone searching for a healing opportunity.
Please join us for an artistic day of self-reflection, rejuvenation and community!