Exams are over…the holiday break has begun…and yet a group of faculty and students in Converse’s art therapy and music therapy programs aren’t relaxing quite yet. They have traveled to Haiti to spend a week working with medical staff at Kings Hospital in Port au Prince, teaching art and music therapy techniques to aid patients in healing as the country continues to struggle through recovery from the massive earthquake. They are also working with children and youth at a local orphanage, encouraging them to dream big and share their hopes through creative expression.
The team is on a return-trip following a partnership launched last spring with Lumiere Ministries, a medical mission program, and Emporia State University. Their work is funded by a Converse College Creative Collaboration Grand and local sponsorships.
Follow along with the group’s experience via their travel blog.
“Research has shown that expressive therapies can reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety frequently experienced by survivors of natural disasters,” said Hurlbut. “Images and music give us a way to express the inexpressible, and help us tell our stories without the limitations of language. Often images created by survivors provide evidence of the resilience of humankind and illustrate hope for survivors in their respective situations. Art and Music Therapy are resources that are not readily available to Haitians as there are no known training programs in Haiti.”