Sunday, December 7, 2014

Creative Process Wk 7 - Let's Tangle!

Today, I wasn’t sure what other creative practice I could do. Book Art is what I like. There wasn’t anything else I was interested in so I thought I’d doodle to open my mind. People who doodle have told me that it relaxes them and they would “space-out” for a bit. Then they are able to come up with a solution to their problem.

Well, that’s what did it for me. I did a search to see what kind of healing arts that has to do with doodling. I found Sacred Doodling with Carol Edmonston on Web Talk Radio. Edmonston is a breast cancer survivor who found healing through doodling. “Edmonston began doodling by chance while anxiously sitting in a medical waiting room shortly after being diagnosed with breast cancer. Since then doodling has become a creative and meditative practice and the spring board for a new beginning for her life.”

You can learn more at and

Another site is

Zentangle is about making deliberate patterns, deliberate focus, rather than random scribbling. At the end, it looks like art you want to keep and displayed. “It increases focus and creativity, provides artistic satisfaction along with an increased sense of personal well-being. You discover that not only can you create beautiful art; you also can increase your focus and create a different mood and state of mind. As you make a deliberate pen stroke on your Zentangle tile without concerning yourself of what it will look like when you are done, that very act of putting your pen to paper focuses your attention in a special way. As your eye follows your pen strokes your attention shifts to a state that allows fresh thoughts, new perspectives, and creative insights to flow unhindered by anxiety or effort.” (Zentangle)

This seems like the perfect art form for a patient with high anxiety. Using a black paper and a violet gel pen. I created my own Zentangle following some of the examples at  Their tag line is “Anything is Possible One Stroke at a Time”. And it is true. I highly recommend it to anyone. Here is my piece. I do not like it, because I’ve seen samples of amazing Zentangle drawings and mine looks amateurish, but I still like it. It helped me to feel accomplished and focused enough to start my mini needs assessment project.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Creative Practice Wk 5 - Carving out time to say 'Thank You'.

This week, we focused on cultural competency and what it means. In a hospital, there is a diverse group of culture and we need to be sensitive and respectful of people’s individual culture. Sheha Kilay gave us 4 tips on cultural competency with different cultural background.  1) Observe first and mirror the body language, 2) Appreciate the differences, 3) Don’t stereotype, 4) Be patient. These tips are great, but I was wondering what would be a universal in all culture.  Saying ‘thank you’ is a universal way of showing appreciation and respect.

Most patients feel grateful and want to give back to doctors, nurses, staff members, family and/or friends.  Some hospitals have a ‘conflict of interest’ clause by preventing staff from receiving monetary gifts from patients. One way for patients to show their gratitude is by making cards. Card making can brighten the day of someone else. Making a ‘Thank You’ can be therapeutic and fun. The therapeutic aspect of card making comes from relaxing, being productive, and keeping busy while spreading good cheers to others. It provides an outlet for creative expression which release important feelings or thoughts, allowing patients a voice to move forward. Making and giving cards is a great art form for connecting with people in the patients’ lives.

Instead of using store bought stamps and using stickers, I thought that patients would like to make their own stamps. Stamp making is easy and doesn't require toxic supplies. Here are the supplies needed: 1) A slab of SpeedyBall speedy carve, 2) SpeedyBall lino-cutters, 3) A pencil and a drawing to transfer onto the Speedy carve, 4) Ink to stamp the final product.

It is fun carving chunks out of linoleum because it takes you into a zone and makes you forget your worries. To start, you want to keep in mind that your stamp will print in reverse. Transfer your drawing onto the speedy carve and start carving off the areas you don’t want. I made a quick video for an example. Remember that anything raised will stamp so do a sample stamp on an old paper.  I made a card that states ‘you still give me butterflies’. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Creative Practice Fall B Wk 3 - Rhythmic Movement

With the concept of being productive while confined in a room or while waiting for news from doctors, I recently started a knitting program at my hospital to provide an alternative to waiting, loneliness and/or boredom. This program is an opportunity for patients to take back control by choosing how complex or simple the project should be with varieties of patterns, colors, combinations and textures.
I have been told by many people that they find knitting fun and that they enjoy making wash clothes as Christmas gifts. I have been told that knitting is a therapeutic art that uses the rhythmic movement of the knitting needles to bring relaxations to the mind and body. I have been told that it helps relieve stress while being productive. I have been told that the repetition contributes to a decrease in heart rate, blood pressure and muscle tension.
This week, I sat with the knitting facilitator to learn how to knit. At first, I was very excited. I was told to start creating a wash cloth, but I didn’t want to waste time making a wash cloth. I wanted to learn how to make knee cuffs to go under my boots. Little did I know how hard it would be!  It was really hard for me. First, the facilitator is left-handed so she taught me backwards, then she tried to show me the opposite way so I can knit right-handed. That just got me really confused. She started me off by casting the first row for me. Then I had to work on the second row on my own, because there were others waiting to learn. As I tried knitting on my own, somehow, I turned into a Tourette patient. My mouth was spewing out the ‘F’ word left and right. The last time I used the ‘F’ word was at least 9 years ago. I noticed my shoulders tightening up, my fingers choking the knitting needles and me holding my breath. It was stressful because I wanted to know how to knit instantly. I have been told that it’s relaxing! It wasn’t! It was stressful.
Two days later, after watching a YouTube Video, I had to learn how to cast my first line on my own, because I kept frogging it (ripping it out) and starting over. This photo is of my 7th attempt. I still feel like I am doing it wrong, but I have noticed that I am more relaxed and my fingers are starting to knit by itself. Maybe when I am not such a perfectionist, I might truly be able to enjoy knitting. In the meantime, I will just take patients’ words as to how therapeutic it is for them.

Here is the YouTube video I watched:
After 7 Attempts

My Aspiring Final Product

Friday, October 24, 2014

Creative Practice Fall B Wk 1 - Button Book

This week, we are learning about well-designed care environment.  After observing a friend’s studio and her creative practice, I fell in love with Book Art.  This last week was the Annual Book Art Jam were over 50 artists display their work.  The location was at a historic community center made of red brick and a beautiful landscape of trees, flowers, wooden benches.  I believe it was a well-designed building to offer care and support to the community. The event was buzzing with treasure hunters and bargain seekers. Books of all sizes were sold –some as small as a button, but most were the size of your mini iPad. Some books were going for $5 to $500.  Fascinated by a button book, and affected by the visual beauty of the environment, I purchased the button book in order to replicate it at my studio.

The artist, Ginger Burrell ( used decorative card stocks and a deep-orange color ribbon to connect the circles together. She also wrote a quote on the circles, “Butterfly, not quite bird and not quite flower.” The colors used are chocolate brown and deep-orange.  

To start off, I wondered if the ribbon was one long strip or many tiny strips, since I couldn’t feel the ribbon in the center of the circle, I decided to use on long strip because it would be easier. The next was to figure out what I wanted to create that was visually appealing. I ended up with a Zentangle pattern (, because I was not able to create my button book at my art studio. Lack of transportation, I had to work on it from my sister’s home. The environment was chaotic. Her children’s clothes and toys were everywhere; the television on full blast and the husband is playing video games on the flat screen with the Bose speakers on loud. If I had my chose, this was not my ideal location for creative practice.  I was frustrated, but had no right to ask everyone to be quite, because I didn’t have transportation at the time. Instead, I used my brother-in-law’s computer room which was a little less noisy.

Once I decided to at least start on the project, it seemed that the noise and chaos fell away – as if the lights went out of the whole house and everyone decided to take a nap.  By using one of my niece’s block toys, I used as a template for my circle. Then, I wondered how Ginger was able to get the circles cute so perfectly. Well, it turns out that she used a circle die cutter, which I do not have. Out of frustration, I use a pair of scissors to cut the circles and glued the pieces together to form the button book. It did not look professional and I was not happy with it, but I was happy for the initial attempt.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Creative Practice Week 7- Star Book

I have wanted to learn how to create a star book for the last year, but never had the mental energy to do it. With the freedom to create what I want his week, I took the opportunity to make a star book. It took me three days in preparation. My mind was playing a tug of war between the Star Book and the Caterpillar book. After reviewing many websites and YouTube video, I decided on the Star Book. It seems hard enough and more effort for me. I sat in my studio thinking about what I should to do – my incubation stage. Then I thought, I always love fairies and unicorns. I’ll create a book with a faire theme – my illumination stage. I discussed with my colleague as to what I wanted to create and she thought it was a cool idea. When I was done, she verified that it was a good start.

Creating this book was a little frustrating at first. My mind couldn’t really concentrate because I felt overwhelmed after watching so many videos trying to figure out how I want to create it. At first, I was going to use thick white watercolor paper and paint it, but then worried it will make it hard for the glue to stick. (See Figure 1) 
Figure 1
I walked away from the table for 30 minutes and thought about what to do and decided on using construction paper in my favorite colors, yellow, black and blue. (Figure 2) 
Figure 2
In the tutorial videos, they tell you to glue the three papers together, but I thought that was boring so I cut a window in the yellow and blue paper, looking back, I should have cut a smaller window for the blue. (Figure 3)
Figure 3
I glued all the sides together and added the covers.  (Figure 4)
Figure 4
At first, I was stressed because I’ve never made a star book before and worried it’ll turn out bad. Once I committed into starting, the whole process helped me to feel better and when I looked up, I have been working for two hours. This was a fair quickly process, but I learned what to do and what not to do to make my next book better. (Figure 5-7)
Figure 5

Figure 6

Figure 7

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Health Issue Week 7 - Chronic Pain

Some years ago, I had a patient call me, wanting to share the experience she received just by looking at a photography displayed in the corridor at the hospital I work for. The picture is of an analemma by Masayuki Shiraishi.   By superimposing all the photographs taken of the sun at the same time each day – subtracting an hour as needed for Daylight Saving Time – the resulting figure-8 or the shape of infinity also known as an analemma.   See Figure 1, a sample photograph of Arizona desert by Frank Zullo 

Figure 1 - Photographer: Frank Zullo
 The patient crying with joy and hope in her voice told me that she has had chronic pain for the last 4 years. She had tried everything and is now at the last straw where she had to seek help through Stanford Hospital. As she was leaving the hospital, she saw this photograph of an infinity shape. That photograph gave her hope because she “knew there must be a God if the sun rotated in the shape of infinity. There is no way we are on this earth by chance.”  She continued to share that she was ready to end her life that day until she saw this photo, and had to thank the people involved in curating this art piece for the hospital.  I still remember this phone call every time I think of patients with Chronic Pain.

After some preparation and incubation of creating a new arts program for patients with Chronic Pain, I finally came to the illumination stage. Recently, knitting has become extremely popular in the Silicon Valley. Groups of ladies with their knitting needles and yarns are popping up everywhere –in the coffee shops, libraries, parks, community centers, and churches.  After approaching donors about the idea of starting a knitting program for Chronic Paint Patients, I received my validation two weeks ago. We now have funding that could keep the knitting program running for the next 10 years. I am proud to say that we are launching the knitting program on October 21, 2014. 

Benefits of Knitting:

In Betson Corkill’s presentation, she gave a list of psychological benefits to knitting. “Distraction, provides purposeful occupation and structure, enables contribution, calming, motivating, relaxing, raises mood, facilitates visualization, increases personal space, gives a sense of belonging, mastery of a skill, raises self esteem, gives feeling of control, breaks into negative thought patterns, reduces feelings of bitterness, encourages looking forward, fun, play and laughter.” What I found most value for the Chronic Pain patients is that knitting can “control the anticipation of pain.” Why knitting? Betson argues that “the hand movements are important. They are bilateral, rhythmic, and automatic. It [knitting] enables us to develop creative thought within a safe framework. Its portability can be used any time; anywhere to manage panic, anxiety attacks.” (Corkill)

“Carrie Barron, a psychiatrist with the Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons and a knitter, lauds handiwork as a tool for alleviating anxiety and depression. Her husband, Alton Barron, orthopedic surgeon and president of the New York Society for Surgery of the Hand, says knitting can prevent arthritis and tendinitis.” (Daily)

(2014) Pain Community Centre. Retrieved from:
Betsan Corkill was a physiotherapist, who now runs Stitchlinks, a support network for those who enjoy the therapeutic benefits of crafts particularly knitting (a bilateral rhythmic psychosocial intervention).

(2014) The Daily Gazette: Knitting making a comeback, seen as relaxing, therapeutic Retrieved from:

Additional Resource:

Riley, J, Corkhill B, Morris, C. (2013). ‘The benefits of knitting for personal and social wellbeing in adulthood: findings from an international survey’, The British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 76:2, 50-57(8)

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Health Issue Week 6 - Mind over Matter

Recently, I found a colleague crying in the break room. After trying to console her for a few minutes, she opened up and shared that her aunt has schizophrenia.  I had a friend from church who claimed that she healed her uncle from this mental illness by taking him on what she calls, “Heavenly Visits”. Though she may call it what she wants, she was actually practicing Guided Imagery.  I have known her for over 9 years, and I and I have to admit that her uncle J has healed. He is as normal as can be. He now responses to you when you call his name, he isn’t violent when I try to share his hand because he thought I had fire that Satan. He doesn’t constantly scream because he saw demons in his room. Her doctor even declared that J no longer has mental illness.

With my colleague in distress, I tried to find articles that will help her aunt. Her aunt is now admitted to a hospital and they are using electrical shock therapy. I wondered if there was anything else that could help her without the invasive treatment. Since the aunt used to love dancing, I was able to find an article written by Emma J. Barton on movement and mindfulness programs.  For 20 weeks, they used formative evaluation to monitor participants with severe mental illness. The results were positive in pro-social behaviors, stress management, and communication skills.
“Practicing yoga enables some people with schizophrenia to begin to articulate the confusing experiences of their inner worlds, the first step toward mastery over them” (Visceglia, 2007, p. 97)

“Yoga assists by building a strong, flexible body and mind capable of attuning to the surrounding environment, while simultaneously regulating the internal state of the body.   These skills both develop and sustain mental and physical wellbeing. Equally, dance/movement therapy offers both insight and lifestyle changes as one becomes aware of one’s own difficulties in relating to others, and learns to express or accept oneself. Therefore, it seems natural to combine the two modalities, offering myriad possibilities for healing with a variety of client populations.” (Barton, 2011)

The dance/movement therapy helped improved coping skills for participants with physical and mental tension, difficulty sleeping, poor interpretation and nonverbal communication. One lady with schizophrenia stated that she learned to put her emotions into movements and then put them into music to relax and feel positive. My colleague was vague about her aunt's schizophrenia. All I know is that she is in the psychic ward with electricity pumping into her brain. Barton’s study is formative evaluation; she didn’t use any tools to record the brain activities. This would be an interesting study to do with my colleague’s aunt to see if dance/movement therapy would truly be more beneficial than the electric shock therapy.

Barton, E. J. (2011). Movement and Mindfulness: A Formative Evaluation of a Dance/Movement and Yoga Therapy Program with Participants Experiencing Severe Mental Illness, American Journal of Dance Therapy, 30:1   DOI: 10.1007/s10465-011-9121-7

Visceglia, E. (2007). Healing mind and body: Using therapeutic yoga in the treatment of schizophrenia. International Journal of Yoga Therapy, 17, 95-103

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Creative Practice Wk 5 - Test-Driving Musical Instrument

The process took me almost all morning to finally be able to play one song. I bought this Vietnamese instrument over 15 years ago because it’s beautiful to look at. This was hard, but rewarding because I bought this Vietnamese instrument years ago but never really tried to take real lessons. Unless I live in Vietnam, it's hard finding an instructor in Palo Alto, CA. I had to do a lot of research online to find music sheets and how to match the notes to the string instruments.

I remember trying to learn a song at least 9 years. Finding a free tuning app on my phone, I tuned my instrument by using a pair of pliers (I’m supposed use the same tool you use for a harp, but I don’t own one). After using the wrong tuner, I found the correct tuning app by looking at the attached layout to figure out how to tune the instrument correctly. 

I found a music sheet online and took a few hours to figure out how to play the song. My mind couldn’t remember the notes, but once my fingers started picking the correct notes, my ears helped my brain to remember how to play the full song. I noticed that when my brain tried to memorize how to play the song, I would mess up, but when I allowed the flow of my fingers and ears to play, I did just fine after the 20th recording.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Health Issues Wk5 - Labor of Love

A few of my friends recently had babies. I’ve never been pregnant so I don’t know what it is like to have labor pain. I’ve only seen mothers screaming at their husbands threatening to kill the husbands for putting them through the agony of childbirth.  That is about the closest I have gotten to being in a room with a screaming pregnant lady wishing for the baby to come out already.

Though I am 45 years old, I still have high hopes that I will be pregnant and have my own children one day. Knowing that the pain is part of the package, I asked my newly-mothers if they had anything to help with the pain. 4 out of 5 told me they had an epidural injection to help with the pain. They told me you’ll forget it once it’s over, but during will be the worst kind of pain a woman could imagine. The one friend who didn’t use any medication said that it hurt, but she endured it.
Unsatisfied with their answers, I did some research on what could be done naturally, and relating to the arts that could help alleviate the labor pain.  Kara Maria Ananda started a Healing Arts of Birth workshop in Mount Shasta, California. Ananda trains therapists to help expectant mothers give healthy births. “Natural healing arts can offer effective pain relief and support for labor and birth without any of the negative side effects that narcotic and pharmaceutical pain relief can cause. Birthworkers, birth partners, and pregnant women can all benefit from learning techniques and practices from energy healing, massage, craniosacral therapy, rebozo, dance, yoga, sound healing, and holistic nutrition for improving labor experience and outcomes.” (Ananda, 2012)

Sound Healing was something new. It turns out that this type of healing is based on the belief that sound changes your consciousness. If this were so, can music help relief pain during labor? If so, what type of music would one listen to? If a person likes Trance, would she listen to “Starry Eyes Surprise,” by  Paul Oakenfold during labor or will she need to listen to classical music –even if it is the last genre on her list of must haves?
A recent article by Gynecologic and Obstetric Investigation published a study on how effective music is during labor. Serap Simavli and team recruited 156 primiparous women who planned for vaginal delivery. About half were randomly chosen for the music therapy group and the other half were placed in a control group. This study was place in Turkey. There were five types of music: “classical music, Turkish art music, Turkish fold music, Turkish classical music, popular music.” (Simavli, 2014)

The study found that, “Music therapy was an effective method for reducing and relieving labor pain and anxiety, improving maternal-fetal-neonatal parameters and reducing postpartum analgesic requirement compared with the control group. It can be clinically recommended as an alternative, safe, easy, noninvasive and nonpharmacological method to relieve pain and improve maternal-fetal well-being.” (Simavli, 2014)
What I found interesting was that “during active labor, women with more rapid chest breathing need more rapid music with a faster tempo. We used different tempi and volumes according to the progress of labor.” (Simavli, 2014)  Maybe you can listen to Trance while giving birth.

Ananda (2012) Birthemissary.  [Blog]  Retrieve from:

Simavli S, Gums I, Kaygusuz I, Yildirim M, Usluogullari B, Kafali H. (2014, Sept. 16) 'Effect of Music on Labor Pain Relieve, Anxiety Level and Postpartum Analgesic Requirement: A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial' Gynecologic and Obstetric Investigation.    DOI: 10.1159/000365085

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Creative Practice Wk 4 - Self Portrait Collage

I started with collecting lots of photos from a magazine. I didn’t choose by beauty, only by the size. After gathering all the photos, I found myself drawn to a cat. I am definitely not a cat person, but I like their eyes and silhouette. I was also drawn to the one eye with the tear running down it. To put them all together, I found a smile with fangs and used that. This self-portrait collage represents the feline in me. There are times when life brings us tears, but it is still ‘Oh, so Beautiful’.  I wish I were more of a risk taker and add more to the collage, but I like it the way it is and was afraid of ruining it.


Health Issue Wk 4 - Eating Disorder

With mass media brainwashing us to believe that beauty (for women) equates to being 5 feet, 10 inches tall, weighs 116 lbs. with an hourglass figure of 36”-24”-36”.  I do not know whether this is even possible, but most school girls and women feel the pressure to be physically perfect in order to be beautiful. 

“By age 6, girls especially start to express concerns about their own weight or shape. 40-60% of elementary school girls (ages 6-12) are concerned about their weight or about becoming too fat. This concern endures through life.” (Smolak, 2011).
Individuals with eating disorders developed this illness at some point during a traumatic experience(s) which they were teased and/or humiliated for being overweight. Trauma like this can cause the individual to binge eating, purging behavior, or using of drugs to numb the pain or trying to take control over their lives – no matter how false the sense of control may be.
13 million Americans have an eating disorder – and it is not only women – 1 million is men.  Social Media promotes fear of becoming fat among children in the age of 10. (See Figure 1, CNN)

(Figure 1, CNN)

Eating disorder is no laughing matter. It has the highest morality rate out of all the mental illness. Treatment costs in the US ranges from $500-$2000 per day in a clinical setting. (DMH)  This amount seems unbelievably high. I started to wonder if there are non-clinical or private centers that offer help at a discount. I found an article on eating disorder and art-making in Canada where they offer help in free non-clinical, community-based support centers.

The article points out that there are two major challenges to recovery for individuals with eating disorders.  One is that cost of the treatment and the second is the patient’s feeling of ambivalence that associates with eating disorders. The study used phenomenological methods while they interviewed 6 women for this study. In this discussion-based and art-based group study, the findings resulted in 4 themes:
1.       Sense of Control over Process
2.       Sense of Safety
3.       Development of Self-awareness
4.       Improvement in Sense of Emotional Well-being
“All of the participants have mentioned in their moods as a result of attending the art-based groups….Other research suggests that engaging in creative thoughts can increase  blood flow to the brain,…studies also find that serotonin, a brain chemical that helps to alleviate feelings of depression, is increased during creative activities.” (Ki, 2011)
The article did not share the exact art projects used because they wanted to give the participants the freedom from the “pressure of having to develop new ideas and at the same time helped them engage with personal issues to whatever extent they chose.” (Ki, 2011)
I wonder if coloring a predesigned mandala or creating their own pattern before a meal would help the patient from binge eating.  From the Patricia Ki’s article, it is obvious that art-making is beneficial to the participants, but I wonder if what specific project would be the most beneficial to help treat the illness. Eating disorder can take up to 15 years to recover. If I were to work with an anorexic, what art project would actually empower them to overcome the situation and the lie of beauty?  I don’t believe art-making would be the only key to recovery, but it would play an important role.
About 10 years ago, Dove launched a campaign to create a paradigm shift for self-image and beauty. Using the arts, Dove ‘Real Beauty’ Campaign produced a video to help spread awareness in homes to safe another person from self-hatred. It shows how impossible it truly is to have it all without manipulations of Photoshop or surgery.

Smolak, L. (2011). Body image development in childhood. In T. Cash & L. Smolak (Eds.),
Body Image: A Handbook of Science, Practice, and Prevention (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford.
Ki, P. (2011). Exploring the experiences of participants in short-term art-based support groups for adults living with eating disorders. Canadian Art Therapy Association Journal 24:1-12

(2014) South Carolina Department of Mental Health. Retrieve from

Monday, September 15, 2014

30/30 Challenge - Day 15

Collage, Oil Relief Ink on BFK Rives paper

Sunday, September 14, 2014

30/30 Challenge - Day 14

used envelope and vintage Army envelope

Saturday, September 13, 2014

30/30 Challenge - Day 13

NFS - I made this for my nephew.

Health Issue Week 3 - DMDD

We have all heard of bipolar disorder. It seems that most children in the recent years have been diagnosed with this. If a child acts out, has a tantrum, he/she could be characterized as bipolar.

An article in the September 2014 issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry brought up a new psychiatric nosology to address the need for improved classification and treatment of children displaying temper tantrums or outbursts. Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD) is a new diagnostic for children (age 5-18) with chronic irritability. It was first proposed in October 2013, but it didn’t have sufficient empirical support. Partly because it was studied by a single group who focused only on adolescents temporarily hospitalized. Either way, the study was introduced to prevent erroneous diagnosis of bipolar disorder.
“It is likely that [bipolar disorder] diagnostic approach has contributed to the dramatic rise in the rate of pediatric visits for bipolar disorder in the United States, from an estimated 25 per 100,000 in 1994-95 to 1,003 per 100,000 in 2002-2003” (Moreno C, 2007)
Am J Psychiatry shared a case study of an 8-year-old boy name Dillon who has DMDD. It shares how Dillon’s tantrums would cause impairment at home, in school, at family gatherings, in church and various places, causing the parents to avoid including Dillon on errands and events to avoid the embarrassment.
Since this diagnostic approach to chronic irritability in youth is so new, no controlled trials were conducted in DMDD. Treatment decisions are currently made based on other diagnostics related to psychopathology.
From reading the case study on Dillon, I wonder how art can help him. He punched holes through walls, gave his mother bruises, and appeared agitated, restless and often requested to be left alone. He “expressed the negative thought that no one liked him, that he did not have any friends, and that his parents did not love him.” 
Since I have never worked or seen a child who has outbursts, I really do not have any idea what type of art session I would offer. Most of the time, when my nieces or nephews demonstrate bad manners, I would raise my voice a little and tell them that they are behaving badly and nobody likes a little brat. I let them sit by themselves for a few minutes, then grab some papers and oil pastels. I would ask them who their favorite character was and would draw it on the paper for them to color. This usually helps them to behave better and everyone is happy again.
This may work for spoiled brats, but I am not sure if it will work for children diagnosed with DMDD. 
Would love any input from you.

Roy AK, Lopes V, Klein RG. (2014, Sept. 1)  Am J Psychiatry 171:918-24. Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder: a new diagnostic approach to chronic irritability in youth.
Moreno C, Laje G, Blanco C, Jiang H, Schmidt AB, Olfson M (2007) Arch Gen Psychiatry 64:1032-1039

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Creative Practice - Line Walking On The Wild Side

This creative practice was to take Sharpie and draw a line on a blank piece of paper without taking you marker off the page.  This can be hard, because you really have to let the line guide you! There were many times I wanted to pick up the marker, but kept with the rule.  The first photo is my result with the lines. The video clips talks about what I did (and I wanted to learn how to do videos). The last photo is of the final project. This practice would be good for people who are controlling and wants everything to be perfect or well thought out.  I can see it working with patients who need to keep their hands busy. I personally did not like it because I'm a control freak, but I do appreciate the pretty pattern and colors.

30/30 Challenge - Day 11

Take a Walk on the Wild Side 

303/30 Challenge - Day 10

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Health Issue (wk 2) - Suicide

After the news about Robin Williams’ suicide on August 11, 2014; within two weeks from the devastating news, a friend talked about her son’s friend committing suicide at school. Another friend chimed in to share that a colleague committed suicide as well. Suicide is a huge mental health issue that we do not discuss very often until someone famous and successful brings the issue to light.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) collects data about mortality in the U.S., including deaths by suicide. In 2011, 39,518 suicides were reported, making suicide the 10th leading cause of death for Americans. Physicians have a higher percent of suicide:
“There is a growing body of evidence that shows physicians are at significantly higher risk of suicide than non-physicians. A widely cited meta-analysis by Dr Eva Schernhammer and Dr Graham Colditz published in the American Journal of Psychiatry in 2004 found that male physicians have a 41% higher risk of suicide compared to the general population and female physicians have a shocking 130% higher risk, though some other studies have found the gender difference to be smaller or even nonexistent.” (Schernhammer, M.D., Dr.P.H.)
Recently, Rebecca Bernert, PhD at Stanford School of Medical announced that poor sleep can increase suicide risk. This study was published Aug. 13 in JAMA Psychiatry. This is understandable considering the demands placed on the physicians. 
After doing some research, I discovered a program started in 2008 by Earl Bakken at the North Hawaii Community Hospital in Waimea. Most hospitals use emergency codes to alert the hospital staff of urgent situations. For example, if there were a fire, we would hear “Code Red” over the intercom; or “Code Blue” for a person who lost consciousness or requires urgent restoration. Earl Bakken envisioned a hospital with integrative medicine consisting of 20% drugs and 80% spirituality. Hence, Code Lavender was born. It is a code that hospital staff can call if they felt overloaded by stress or if something traumatic happened that they felt overwhelmed/burnout.
Cleveland Clinic is one other hospital that has been using Code Lavender among the nurses and doctors. (Cameron, 2009)  They “focus on being supportive and also on using touch therapies… spiritual support and counseling, snacks…”   I approached the Director of Chaplaincy at my hospital offering to help start Code Lavender at my work. Though Cleveland Clinic offers more touch and spiritual support, I feel that we should offer art therapy, guided imagery and music therapy. These three art forms will help the staff take their minds off their worries for a short period. Many studies show that creating art helps lower blood pressure and heart rate. It calms the mind down allowing people to see their situation in a different perspective. It allows people to put their worries out to the universe. I personally have collected surveys from patients after an art session and most have said that “the art sessions allowed them to remember what it’s like to have fun again”, “I slept better than I have for a long while”, “for a moment there, I forgot I was sick”. 
Not only do I believe that Code Lavender will help alleviate stress and anxiety for the nurses, doctors, and caregivers. Code Lavender will help employees feel supported by the hospital and by their colleagues. The Cleveland Clinic survey of Code Lavender patients, in 2008, found that “93% of patients surveyed said that the Code Lavender services they received were helpful, and 90% said that they would recommend these services to others.” 
There is no guarantee that we will rid suicide completely, but with Code Lavender, there is hope for the nurses, doctors and caregivers. They give of themselves constantly and are running on empty. By providing a system where they can say, ‘Hey!  I need help. I need my cup to be refilled’, we can help prevent another suicide and help bring back the humanity in healthcare.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Data & Statistics Fatal Injury Report.
Schernhammer , M.D., Dr.P.H.; Graham A. Colditz, M.D., D.P.H. Am J Psychiatry. 2004; 161(12):2295-2302. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.161.12.2295   
Cameron, M. (2009) Cleveland Clinic: Notable Nursing: Healing Services ‘Code Lavender’
Code Lavender™  ExperiaHealth,

Friday, September 5, 2014

30/30 Challenge - Day 5

15 x 15 - DANG

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

30/30 Challenge - Day 4

15 x 15, Be The Bird

Creative Practice Week 2 - Six Word Memoir

Autobiography:  Give Love That Makes People Beautiful
Present Moment:  Sipping Rooibos Tea. I am happy.
Vision:  A world overflowing with joyful tears.
Spirituality:  All of You. More than enough.

Using only six words to describe your life’s motto wasn’t easy, but I did notice that I lost track of time thinking about using the right words. I have been stressed about all the things I have to accomplish on my To-Do List that people around me could feel that negative energy. After the first task, I saw that my shoulders were no longer up close to my ears and I sat up straight.
Word is powerful! I can see myself using this Six Word Memoir with the patients in the hospital. It’s a great opening to get them to start thinking about what to paint or create. They might be able to forget their worries for a while or maybe take it deeper and focus on their purpose in life. Purpose makes you fight to survive for the people you love.
I took a photo of my list to show the process of my thoughts. My six word autobiography is my life’s mission. I did not want it written in plan font, so I tried to write it in what calligraphers call, Black Letter. It’s not perfect; but then again, neither am I.

30/30 Challenge - Day 3

15X15  Three - Linh B Dang

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

30/30 Challenge - Day 2

15x15 - Be The Love (Ghost) - Artist: Linh B Dang

30/30 Challenge - Day 1

I haven’t been blogging for a long time. Cool fact I just learned the other day, Blog is for Web Log and then it got shorten to Blog. I recently took on a painting challenge for the month of September where anyone can join the challenge. It begins on September 1, 2014. It is a no rules challenge.  You can do whatever you want. The point is to get you creating everyday.

Artist, Leslie Saeta, is hosting this challenge. She had this challenge last year. To join, click on this website:"30 Paintings In 30 Days".  

There are approximately 650 people from around the world signed up for this challenge.  I am excited to take this challenge because I usually can’t find time to do art everyday, so I am determined to accomplish this. Please visit daily and leave comments if you like my work. It will encourage me to keep producing.

Thanks for visiting!

15x15 - Be The Love - Artist: Linh B Dang