EB & the Arts

For many people, exploration of the arts can be a wonderful means of escape from daily routines and mundane tasks. But the arts can do so much more, as a variety of art and music programs have demonstrated. Art also can serve as a valuable means for self-expression and as a coping mechanism for those battling disease, or facing stress and crisis as a loved one or caregiver.

Writer Colette Georgii points out the many healing benefits of art by providing a method that may help relax the mind, offer a means to communicate and share, and aid those too young to fully communicate through still-developing language skills. By providing children with art supplies or writing utensils and a blank canvas or notebook, you can encourage those who may be confused or stressed about the illness they face to channel that frustration and pain through a creative means of expression and help them alleviate the emotional stress of living with EB.

Music – playing or listening to it – can provide a helpful tool to encourage creative expression and channeling built-up emotions and anxiety through musical notes or song lyrics.

And whether it’s visual arts, the written word or music, the powerful healing characteristics of the broad spectrum of arts can certainly apply to people of every age from adults to children – and in every role, from caregivers and family members to the patients themselves.

Consider your own EB family. How have you incorporated the arts into your daily life? Have you discovered a new art form as a hobby, such as painting, drawing or sculpting? Or has music always made an emotional impression on you? Maybe learning a new instrument would provide an exciting new hobby to learn and simultaneously provide a wonderful creative outlet through which to heal – writing new songs or learning works by favorite musicians. If you enjoy reading, have you considered writing? And are you already expressing yourself through a private journal or a blog? Perhaps it is time to use those writing skills not only to offer insight to others going through similar challenges, but also to begin working toward some form of self-healing in the process.

There are plenty of creative avenues for self-expression that we’ve not yet mentioned, including dance, dramatic performance, storytelling, standup comedy, jewelry making, pottery, photography, fashion design, and so much more! Some patients or families facing serious or life-threatening illness may incorporate the use of formal art therapy into the patient’s or family’s daily or weekly regimen to support mental and emotional health and wellness. At the Art Can Heal website, the role of an art therapist is described as a facilitator of the “journey of creative self-discovery and release.”

Traditional art therapy could be a helpful tool for you and your family but may not be for everyone. Perhaps just an informal addition of the arts into your lifestyle could offer stress management or emotional wellness benefits.

Consider your own situation right now. How are you using the arts in your household currently? As a shared activity by which you gather and enjoy each other’s company? As a solo activity for general entertainment purposes? As a personal form of creative expression or stress relief? If the arts do figure into your lifestyle, how does such participation make you feel? What do you believe that you gain from it?

And for those who are not factoring the arts into the household or daily routine, do you see the value in incorporating them into your lives? If so, what are some things you could do this week to help yourself in this way?

Sources:
“How teachers can use art and music education to help children heal from trauma and crisis” (Helium, 12/04/09)
“What Is Art Therapy?” (Art Can Heal)

Related Posts:
Resources for Caregivers
Coping with Change
Social Media for EB Storytelling
Blogging Your Story: Five Things You Should Know

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