Healing Music

December 3, 2021

Cover Art for “For Children of All Ages”,by You and Us. Album to be Released Soon

An interesting new music album is on the way soon. Nicole Porter Davis and her band, You and Us, have created an album of songs that reflect the various stages of Art Therapy Trauma Response, developed by Porter, a Registered and Board Certified Art Therapist, following the Sandy Hook School tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut.

The first single from the album is available to be heard now here.

As a retired Art Therapist, myself, I am appreciative of the creativity, imagination, and initiative involved in this project.

You can read and subscribe to her new newsletter here.

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Leonora Carrington. “And Then We Saw the Daughter of the Minotaur.” 1953. Oil on canvas.


I’m always happy to see surrealist images pop up now and then on the web, like this one from MOMA. I’m happier still to read about how an individual uses art for their mental health. The take-away quote: “There are things that are not sayable. That’s why we have art”.


From The Museum of Modern Art, N.Y., NY

As a Surrealist, #LeonoraCarrington’s works are fantastical and otherworldly, but more than that, they give us a window into her inner world.

On #WorldMentalHealthDay, engage in a guided visualization of Carrington’s “And Then We Saw the Daughter of the Minotaur,” led by Jackie Armstrong on our Education team, for our Artful Practices for Well-Being audio playlist.

Visualization and mindfulness can be powerful tools for reducing anxiety, increasing awareness, and healing distress; the artist understood that mental wellbeing is inextricably linked to physical health, and that balance is important.

Throughout her life, Carrington struggled with her mental health, at one point being involuntarily committed to an asylum as grief over her lover Max Ernst’s internment at a prison camp caused a severe decline in both her mental and physical health.

Carrington was ultimately able to use her art to process and heal. As she writes in her memoir, “There are things that are not sayable. That’s why we have art.”

Start listening at the link in our bio. #ArtfulPracticesforWellbeing

[Leonora Carrington. “And Then We Saw the Daughter of the Minotaur.” 1953. Oil on canvas. © 2020 Leonora Carrington / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York]

Art as therapy is wonderful and effective. I wonder if any of these museums will consider hiring a credentialed art therapist to direct these programs. Credentialed art therapists have been professionally trained in the therapeutic use of art and can facilitate and oversee effective programming.


Imagination and Health

June 17, 2020

Rossman Interview Clip


Imagination’s Healing Power: A short clip of an interview with Dr. Martin L. Rossman


Dr. Andrew Weil visited The Joe Rogan Podcast on December 12, 2018 and talked about mind/body, placebo, hypnosis, professional guided imagery, and several other interesting topics. Much of the discussion emphasized the role of mind and imagination in well-being and healing. Weil is an important figure in the awareness of the mind/body relationship and a leading practitioner of Integrative Medicine. This video is almost 2 hours long, and I listened to it in 2 sittings, but I found it worth my attention throughout. Enjoy.

I’m not sure if pre-migraine visualizations count as an aspect of imagination, but maybe…. The illustrations here are pretty close to my own experience but I see more facets within the images and more colors in the facets. Interesting- and troubling that more is not known about this.


A Beautiful 1870 Visualization of the Hallucinations That Come Before a Migraine

in History, Science | July 12th, 2019 Leave a Comment

Headaches number among humanity’s most common ailments. The headache-related disorders known as migraines may be rarer, afflicting roughly fifteen percent of the population, but they’re also much more severe. Besides a headache that can last as long as three days, migraines can also come with various other symptoms including nausea as well as sensitivity to light, sound, and smells. They even cause some sufferers to hallucinate: the visual elements of these pre-migraine “auras” might take the shape of distortions, vibrations, zig-zag lines, bright lights, blobs, or blind spots. Sometimes they also come in color, and brilliant color at that.

Those colors jump right out of this 1870 drawing by English physician Hubert Airy, with which he sought to capture his own visual experience of a migraine. He “first became aware of his affliction in the fall of 1854,” writes National Geographic‘s Greg Miller, “when he noticed a small blind spot interfering with his ability to read. ‘At first it looked just like the spot which you see after having looked at the sun or some bright object,’ he later wrote. But the blind spot was growing, its edges taking on a zigzag shape that reminded Airy of the bastions of a fortified medieval town.” As Airy describes it, “All the interior of the fortification, so to speak, was boiling and rolling about in a most wonderful manner as if it was some thick liquid all alive.”

To a migraneur, that description may sound familiar, and the drawing that accompanied it in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society in 1870 may look even more so. Called “arguably the most beautiful scientific records of migraine aura ever made” by G.D. Schott in Brain, Airy’s drawings “record the progress and expansion of his own visual disturbances” over their half-hour-long onset. Apart from their stark beauty, writes Miller, the set of drawings “anticipates discoveries in neuroscience that were still decades in the future,” such as the assumption that the hallucinations originate in the brain rather than the eyes and that certain parts of the field of vision correspond to certain parts of the visual cortex.

“There’s still much we don’t know about migraines and migraine auras,” Miller writes. “One hypothesis is that a sort of electrical wave sweeps across the visual cortex, causing hallucinations that spread across the corresponding parts of the visual field” — an idea with which Airy’s early renderings also accord. And what about the source of all those colors? Electrical waves passing through parts of the brain “that contain neurons that respond to specific colors” may be responsible, but nearly 150 years after the publication of Airy’s drawings, “no one really knows.” Migraine research of the kind pioneered by Airy himself may have dispelled some of the mystery surrounding the affliction, but a great deal nevertheless remains. Airy’s drawings, still among the most vivid representations of the visual aspect of migraines ever created, will no doubt inspire generations of future neuroscientists to find out more.


Interesting new web site

September 11, 2010

Guided Imagery Collective Logo

Take a look at this new web site I discovered a couple of days ago, Guided Imagery Collective. Jose Said Osio is a kindred spirit and his well constructed and attractive site is about his interest in guided imagery, art, wellness, and spirit. Check it out.

People who suffer with headaches and migraines
can often have a frustrating experience trying to get rid of or control them. There are lots of reasons one can get a headache and sometimes simple remedies like an analgesic like aspirin or ibuprofin isn't enough. I have seen people reduce or eliminate headache and migraine symptoms with guided imagery. Martin L. Rossman, M.D., has a two CDs that offer guidance- "Headache Relief" is one that addresses the problem directly and "Guided Imagery for Self-Healing Book and CD Set" is another that offers a more in-depth experience into the basics of guided imagery. You can find a therapist who uses guided imagery here.

Another approach is to use biofeedback therapy. You can find a biofeedback therapist here. Or you can treat yourself and have fun, too, with the "Journey to the Wild Divine" software and computer interface package that uses a game format to engage the player. Negotiating one's way through the game requires using the biofeedback to relax or excite the mind. It's great fun and very helpful, too. Biofeedback is a good way to address the symptoms and the causes of headaches and migraines.

Kelsie Kenefick, a biofeedback therapist, has written an article entitled, "Can Migraines be Controlled?" and another called, "What foods Trigger headaches and Migraines?" for the Wild Divine Newsletter and can be found at those links.

Wild Divine Sale

October 9, 2007

Wild Divine, the company that produces and sells the computer game, Journey to the Wild Divine, and other Mac and PC software and its accompanying hardware is having a sale. I’ve had a link to this company on this blog for some time because I think their products are high quality and of great usefulness.

The game, Journey to the Wild Divine, comes with a small biofeedback device that connects to your computer by USB. When you put the sensors on your fingers you can control aspects of the Myst-like game with your mind! In order to progress through the game you must learn to use your mind to relax or excite. There are additional modules for those who want more variety or challenges and a module that is simply the biofeedback program, bypassing the game aspect altogether. There are even tips from mind/body experts like Andrew Weill, Dean Ornish, and Deepak Chopra. I have enjoyed and benefited from use of this game myself and have recommended it to clients for relaxation, enhancing concentration, self-awareness, and focusing attention.

Use this link or the graphic links above or at the bottom of the right column to go to the Wild Divine web site for more information or to purchase. There are discounts now available of 10-20%. To get the discount, which is available now through October 31, 2007, use the code BIGSAVE.