Dear friends of the arts, ideas, health, and society, I am excited to share my vision with you – the creation of a transformative public or academic program of expressive arts for healing and social change in Houston, Texas. This program aims to offer training and a certificate that can be used to apply for credentials from the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association (IEATA). Currently, IEATA offers two credentials: REACE (Registered Expressive Arts Educator and Consultant) and REAT (Registered Expressive Arts Therapist).
Personally, I hold a Ph.D. in Expressive Arts and the REACE credential, making me approved and certified to lead this program that will enable participants to obtain these credentials. To qualify, individuals will need to undergo initial training and gain practical experience after completing the program. The program duration can be one intense year or two more relaxed years.
The first part of the program will focus on deep personal healing through the arts, incorporating the wisdom and techniques I learned from Dr. Natalie Rogers. I had the privilege of studying under her direct guidance at Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center in California, where she offered her transformative program, "Person-Centered Expressive Arts for Healing and Social Change."
The second part of the program will be tailored towards facilitation. It will equip artists, teachers, and mental health practitioners to reflect upon, understand, and practice the art of facilitating healing in groups using expressive arts. Participants will have opportunities to facilitate group sessions for one main cohort of students as well as other groups.
The curriculum will include readings assigned by pioneers in the field Dr. Natalie Rogers, Dr. Paolo Knill, and Dr. Stephen Levine from the European Graduate School, who were also my own teachers. Additionally, students will have the chance to choose readings from the diverse selection of literature on the healing power of the arts, benefiting from the abundance of knowledge available today.
I am passionate about initiating this program in Houston, Texas, as I believe it holds tremendous potential as a powerful catalyst for positive change. Together, we can cultivate cohorts of healer-artists who will venture out into the world and make it a better place.
At present, I am seeking the support of interested artists, mental health professionals, and teachers who share a curiosity for expressive arts and its profound impact on individuals and society. I am also on the lookout for an educational institution willing to provide the necessary facility and support to bring this vision to life.
My goal is to invite multidisciplinary, local and international guests to facilitate workshops, deliver lectures, and share their wisdom with us. As a board member of IEATA.org the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association, I have connections with leading experts in the field worldwide, and I am hopeful that some will join us to enrich the program. Additionally, as an alumna of the European Graduate School EGS branch dedicated to Critical Theory and Continental Philosophy, I have access to scholars with fascinating perspectives on arts, society, ethics, and human life, whom we can invite to contribute to our discussions and lectures here in Houston.
I share this statement of intent with you to ensure transparency and to invite anyone who wishes to support this endeavor. I firmly believe that this program will be an amazing, beautiful, and essential contribution to humanity. Let us work together to make it a reality.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Lorena Fernandez, Ph.D.