The Power of the Arts.


Visual Art is a form of expression that utilizes various art mediums

including paint, chalk, clay, tiles, and beads to create and express feelings

spontaneously, and is used to treat a variety of mental health issues including childhood trauma.

There are actually two separate benefits

to Visual Art. The first involves the

creation of the actual artwork itself and

the overall healing benefit in expressing

creative energy as a means to finding

personal fulfillment, emotional reparation,

recovery, and self-discovery. The second

aspect involves the interpretation of the

artwork. Through non-verbal communication, underlying thoughts

and feelings are conveyed within the artwork, thereby allowing the students to gain insight and judgment, and perhaps a better understanding of how they relate to the world around them. Inner exploration through the creative process has been clinically proven time and again to help people cope better with stress, work through traumatic experiences, increase cognitive abilities, and improve relationships with family and friends.

In fact, California Youth Authority institution

showed a 60-70% decrease in violence for those who participated in a community-based

art program.




     Creative Writing utilizes the power of literature, storytelling,

   and poetry to understand one’s self, thoughts, and emotions.

 Fictional writing projects, journaling, poetry exercises, and storytelling help to extract harbored negative emotions, so they

can be dealt with and redirected positively. Metaphors, allegories, and symbolism offer insight into the mind,

and also provide a sense of safety to

express feelings that are typically

not easy to share. Groups projects

and peer-to-peer sharing further

 enhance the healing aspect of

 literature, fostering a greater sense

  of self-esteem, social skills, and

   interpersonal relationships.

In a dramatic shift, experts worldwide are turning to therapeutic creative arts and mindfulness programs as a means of healing trauma and opening doors to better coping skills. Leading psychologists often note a marked improvement in patients receiving creative art therapy compared to those in more traditional therapy sessions.



Yoga can be instrumental in instilling a higher self-concept and an attitude of inner discipline. It has become widely accepted in treating a variety of ailments in adults and children, both emotional and physical, including trauma.

Through various poses and postures, focus is directed from negative thoughts and emotions to peaceful, tranquil ones — giving the student an overall sense of well-being and balance. A combination of physical movement, progressive relaxation, deep breathing, visualization, and stretching all help to rebalance the internal energy, relieve stress,

and develop coping techniques

to be applied throughout

the student’s life.



      Music as a means to treat trauma has been used for  

    centuries and has been proven to help young people with

  communication, attention, motivation, and behavioral problems.

 This powerful, non-threatening medium can be used to treat

everything from PTSD and cancer, to brain injuries and substance abuse problems. Clinical tests have shown music therapy to decrease aggression, lift depression, and improve negative behaviors. Through the process of playing and sharing music therapeutically, young

 people especially show marked improvement in their self-esteem,

  increased focus, enhanced social and listening skills, as well as 

    improved academic and cognitive function.  

  With Chip having found sanctuary in 

  the arts as a child, coupled with the

  mindfulness and mentorship of Lisa,

  the two embarked on a personal

  mission to eradicate the notion that 

  children of troubled backgrounds are

  defined by their surroundings and

  destined to continue a cycle of 



  That’s when they launched the 

  St. Clair Butterfly Foundation's 

  innovative trauma model.



    Revered for its healing value since ancient Egypt, Gardening is defined

  by the American Horticultural Therapy Association as “a process utilizing

 plants and horticultural activities to improve social, educational, psychological

and physical adjustment of persons thus improving their body, mind, and spirit.”

Young people seeking to overcome trauma have shown dramatic progress in their sense of self-esteem, personal capacity, and accomplishments

after being given the role as caregiver. The tranquil

setting of a garden has been shown in clinical

studies to be an important therapeutic venue

in which children and teens with deep emotional

wounds tend to be relieved of aggressive

 behavior through activities such as digging

 and planting, all the while becoming more

 receptive to talking and working through their

  problems as anxiety and tension dissipate through

   the activities.

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St. Clair Butterfly Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) Nonprofit

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