The Lehigh Valley Storytelling Guild wants to become a leader in the use of the arts for healing and wellness in the Lehigh Valley. In order to do this, it is strengthening its existing programming and laying a strong foundation to launch new programs.
Our current effort is “Art Heals Lives” a 2-part project. It includes the following:
1. "Art Heals Lives" is a collaboration between the Lehigh Valley Storytelling Guild and the Wellness Community of the Greater Lehigh Valley providing a healing retreat for breast cancer survivors and their caregivers. This creative retreat is being designed as a pilot program for similar retreats adapted for other targeted populations in the wellness field. By the term "wellness field" we are referring to those managed care organizations and community agencies that provide health education, help to identify health risks and encourage health behavior changes.
2. "Retreat Leaders Training" The Lehigh Valley Storytelling Guild
wants to run a 2 day training retreat taught by Fran Yardley, one of the forerunners
of using storytelling in a healing retreat setting. This 2-day event would
be open to organizations and people interested in the use of the creative
arts for healing. This would widen the circle of trained retreat leaders from
which to draw as we expand our "Art Heals Lives" programs.
The "Art Heals Lives" retreat will incorporate three main components: relaxation and contemplation; creativity; support group. Facilitated by professionals in the fields of psychology, storytelling and fabric art, participants will be able to move beyond the descriptor of "survivor" or "care-giver" by awakening and affirming their whole creative self. The act of participating in the creative process strengthens and sustains the human spirit. If health and healing are to be viewed as bringing a person into a state of wholeness, of strengthening the mind/body/spirit connection, the use of creativity along with talk therapy and relaxation is strong medicine.
In the early spring of 2010 a two-day/one-night retreat will be held at the Kirkridge Retreat Center in the Poconos. This healing retreat is intended for breast cancer clients of the Wellness Community and their caregivers. As a program of the Wellness Community, the retreat will be free to all participants.
Artists have known for a long time the benefits of self-expression and creative exploration. Medical research has caught up, finding that using the arts does indeed create both physical and psychological benefits in people. It does indeed help heal.
It has become clear that using the arts to engage and nurture the healing
process and strengthen wellness within a community works. It is also evident
that at the current time there is not a strong availability of this kind of
programming within the Lehigh Valley. We hope to remedy through story.
Fran Yardley & Mary Wright at NCC.