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Showing posts from October, 2011

Just Keep Trying; Long Island Playwright Jack Canfora Shares The Secret of His Success

by Jude Treder-Wolff, LCSW, RMT, CGP About 2 years ago I attended a staged reading of a play called Jericho at the Rattlestick Theater in Manhattan. The playwright, Jack Canfora, is a teacher of 11th and 12th grade English at Plainview Old Bethpage John F. Kennedy High School on Long Island and an actor who, in 1993, performed the opening monologue of the first (and only) full-length play I ever wrote. Unfortunately for Jack, the monologue was his character’s only appearance in the play, so he had to hang around backstage for the entire show to participate in the company bow at curtain. Fortunately for me and the entire cast, he did this graciously and with a lot of humor. That is commitment.       Amazingly entertaining and strikingly serious at the same time, Jericho deals with the effects of 9/11 on two New Yorkers directly affected by the attacks and coping in very different ways. It won the 2011 Edgarton Foundation New Play Award, recently completed a full production at The New J…

The Arts and Health: Connecting The Dots, Evidence-Based

Storytelling is emerging as a powerful tool for health promotion in vulnerable populations. Until now, these interventions were largely untested in rigorous studies. A study published in The Annals of Internal Medicine (Jan 2011) found that a storytelling intervention produced "substantial and significant improvements in blood pressure for patients with baseline uncontrolled hypertension." more

This academic article "Tell Me A Story: A Conceptual Exploration of Storytelling In Health Care Education" from Nursing Education Today explores the principles of storytelling and the role of storytelling in healthcare delivery, This nursing educator identifies some of the skills learned and benefits derived from storytelling, and speculates upon the use of storytelling strategies in nurse education. "Such stories have, until recently been harvested from the experiences of students and of educators," she writes, "however, there is a growing realiz…

THE BENEFITS OF ARTS AND CREATIVITY TRAINING:

October is Arts & Humanities Month - take a creative risk!

A growing number of studies demonstrate that creativity training, or development in a creative domain, integrates the brain, body and emotions in a symphony of heightened functioning. A study published by Columbia University’s Center for Arts in Education Research reports that teachers in schools providing high-arts “spoke of the effects of arts learning along five specific dimensions of ability. These were the ability to:

Express ideas and feelings openly and thoughtfully; Form relationships among different items of experience and layer them in thinking through an idea or problem; Conceive or imagine different vantage points of an idea or problem and to work towards a resolution; Construct and organize thoughts and ideas into meaningful units or wholes; and Focus perception on an item or items of experience, and sustain this focus over a period of time.     Dr. Elliott Eisner, author of TheArts and The Creati…

The Gods Must Be (Going) Crazy: When Worldviews Collide

In the 1980 independent film The Gods Must Be Crazy, a Coke bottle falls from a small plane passing overhead and into the path of a Bushman in the Kalahari Desert. He and his villagers view the plane as a god, so they see the bottle as a fascinating and curious gift the gods saw fit to bestow. They invent all sorts of interesting uses for it, which unfortunately includes bonking on heads, something hard objects tend to inspire in human beings. When they start to fight over it, the bottle comes to be regarded as an “evil thing.” They figure the gods had to be crazy to send this into their lives, and elect Xi, the Bushman who brought it into the village, to find the place where the gods reside and return it. On his expedition he encounters white people, technology, and violence for the first time, including a culture clash that lands him in jail for months. He does succeed in the end, tossing the bottle off a mountaintop that could easily be viewed as a home for the gods, and then res…

Role-Reversal: Seeing Situations With A New "I"

Bill (not his real name) – a 19-year-old man in an experiential group at a retreat for children of alcoholics - stepped up, reluctantly and therefore courageously, when I requested volunteers for an exercise that involved role-reversal. A technique that is central to the psychodramatic method, role-reversal shifts our frame of reference about a situation, memory or person. A person stuck in a conflict with an unbending boss, for example, will assume the role of this boss, and with the support of the director and the other group members explore the tension from the perspective of "the other." If we have generated sufficient psychological safety in the group, the process of role-reversal will reveal underlying beliefs and memories that connect to the present situation. It is ultimately a way to rewrite the story in a fresh, more empowered way.
 In a walk-and-talk interview "Bill" freely shared two things: 1) he attended this retreat only because of a bargain with his …