Body, Mind, Spirit…and Art
Whether done alone or with others, artmaking is a physical, emotional, intellectual, and integrative endeavor, and it’s been used for healing purposes across various cultures long before the establishment of the American Art Therapy Association. Looked upon as fringe-y a little as two decades ago, holistic approaches—like artmaking—that consider a person’s biological, psychological, social, and spiritual needs are now regarded as fairly mainstream in physical and mental healthcare. Fortunately, providers have many sources to turn to for helping them maintain a whole-person focus in their work with others.
One such source is Georgetown University’s National Center for Cultural Competence. Check out “Body/Mind/Spirit: Toward a Biopsychosocial-Spiritual Model of Health”, a comprehensive overview of definitions, discussions, references, and resources concerning the incorporation of holistic attitudes in healthcare. In scanning the full contents of “Body/Mind/Spirit”, however, I only noted three articles that acknowledge the use of visually based means for clarifying an individual’s sense of spirituality. These pictorial methods are more diagram-oriented (think genogram) than diversity-oriented.
Try adding this to the mix to get a sense of how diversity and creativity combine to inform whole-person work: the selected bibliography and resource list of the American Art Therapy Association’s Multicultural Committee. Although it does not overtly address spirituality and has not been updated since 2005, this document serves as a complement to other documents that tackle the complex issues involved in understanding an individual’s perception of illness and wellness. Some of the category headings are fairly typical for a cultural competence catalog, though the contents of these are peppered with recognition of art and artmaking. Other category headings speak directly toward the role of art in healthcare: Folk Art & Healing, International Art Therapy, Multicultural Art Resources, and Multicultural Art Therapy Resources.
I know…so little time, so many interesting things to read. While you’re at it, I’ll wish you and those you serve a healthy body, a healthy mind, a healthy spirit, and of course, a healthy dose of art.
With appreciation for the important work you do,
Megan November 2013