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NCCIH Research Blog

ICIMH Roundtable To Explore Research on Creative Art Therapies

April 30, 2018

Emmeline Edwards, Ph.D.

Emmeline Edwards, Ph.D.


Division of Extramural Research

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

View biographical sketch

Many current health challenges such as autism, chronic pain, and Alzheimer’s disease have remained largely intractable. Research suggests that a combination of therapeutic approaches will likely be needed to address these complex conditions. Creative art therapies may have a role to play in these multidisciplinary strategies.

These therapies, also called expressive arts therapies, use art, music, drama, dance/movement, poetry/creative writing, bibliotherapy (which may be described as patients reading published information, such as workbooks or Web-based materials, based on a therapist’s recommendation), play, and/or sand play within the context of psychotherapy, counseling, rehabilitation, or medicine. They are so named because of their roots in the arts and theories of creativity. The term “integrative therapies” may also refer to them when used in combination treatments.

NCCIH is delighted to offer a breakfast roundtable discussion on “Creative Art Therapies (e.g., Music, Dance, Visual Arts) and Health: Early Evidence and Long-Range Promise” at the International Congress on Integrative Medicine and Health (ICIMH) on Thursday, May 10, from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. The roundtable will focus on recent neuroscience research suggesting sensorimotor, cognitive, and emotional processes are activated while people are engaged in creative art forms. Barriers encountered by researchers in translating basic research findings into therapeutic interventions will also be discussed, and an audience question-and-answer period will conclude the session.

Dr. Emmeline Edwards, Director of the NCCIH Division of Extramural Research (DER) and Dr. Wen Chen, Acting Chief and Program Director in DER’s Basic and Mechanistic Research in Complementary and Integrative Health Branch, will provide an overview of the field and serve as moderators. Mr. Sunil Iyengar, Director of the Office of Research and Analysis at the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), will discuss new research opportunities through the Sound Health initiative. Sound Health is a partnership between the National Institutes of Health and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, in association with the NEA.

We hope you can join us for this roundtable, which is also a prelude to the symposium Music, the Brain, and Chronic Pain offered later that day, May 10, from 1:45 to 3:00 p.m.

Tags: Meetings


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