Curated

Creative Arts Therapists Connect to Build a Harvey Healing Tree


By Britni R. McAshan | July 31, 2018

After Hurricane Harvey doused an unprecedented amount of rain on Houston last August, creative arts therapists from Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston Methodist Hospital and Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital coordinated with the Harvey Arts Recovery Project to organize four Harvey Healing Days throughout the city to help repair emotional wounds left by the storm.

“We are charged with treating the whole human in our nine-to-five jobs at the hospital,” said Marial Biard, a certified neurologic music therapist at Texas Children’s. “Our physicians, nurses and doctors use medicine to treat the cancer and heal the broken bones and we help heal the head and the heart—the areas impacted by the illness or trauma—to make them whole again. That’s what we did with Harvey; we helped heal these humans.”

At each Harvey Healing Day, guests had an opportunity to express their thoughts and feelings on canvas strips that have now become part of one collective piece of art—a big, unbreakable tree. Constructed of chicken wire and cloth, the tree is brightly-colored and flexible.

“We wanted the base of the tree to be created out of fabric and materials that stretch because that is something that we all had to do. Resources were stretched, people were out of their comfort zone,” Biard said. “Each of these strips tells a story of community, of resiliency, and adds to this tree and its branches and leaves. So what was a very beautiful but empty trunk has now been brought to life.”

The fabric pieces on the Harvey Healing Tree carry the sentiments of participants: “Keep moving through.” “Houston Strong.” “Every day is new.” “Coming together.” “Power. Hope. Love.” “Faith. Community. Support.” “Breathe.”

Creative arts therapists received psychological first aid training before each Harvey Healing Day to offer the most appropriate care possible. Therapy was not limited to writing on strips of canvas.

“We chose to include all of the creative arts in the Harvey Healing Days because you could see that [victims] had built up these walls and you need these different modalities—art, music and movement—to take these layers down and create with one another and be silly and fun,” Biard said.

Therapists encouraged guests to dance, sing, drum, play instruments and more.

“To get an opportunity for expression where you don’t need words … I think that is one of the most powerful pieces for people,” said Jennifer Townsend, music therapy program manager for the Center for Performing Arts Medicine at Houston Methodist. “People may not be able to tell you exactly how they are feeling, but they can create their strip of canvas or learn that song on the ukulele or bang on the drums as hard as they can.”

The Harvey Healing Tree will be unveiled to the public on Saturday, Aug. 25—the anniversary of Hurricane Harvey’s arrival in Houston—during a celebration at Discovery Green to honor Houston’s resilience in the face of a disaster.

At the end of the event, a team of Texas Medical Center creative arts therapists and guests will deliver the Harvey Healing Tree to Houston City Hall, 901 Bagby St., where it will remain on display for two months.

The Harvey Healing Tree will be revealed between 2 and 5 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 25, at Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney St. Information: 713-400-7336 or discoverygreen.com.




Social Posts

profile_image

Veterans Affairs

@DeptVetAffairs

RAPID CITY, SD: World War II Veterans from across the Black Hills gather for annual luncheon https://t.co/XsO0DewfB1 via @NewsCenter1

5 hours ago
profile_image

Veterans Affairs

@DeptVetAffairs

Connecticut: West Haven Memorial Day parade to be led by Vietnam Veteran https://t.co/Fu8JWSJP6l via @nhregister

7 hours ago
profile_image

UTHealth

@UTHealth

RT @FOX26Houston: UTHealth preps for approaching hurricane season https://t.co/Pk4HLVM4ny https://t.co/QoNMZxmcID

9 hours ago
profile_image

Veterans Affairs

@DeptVetAffairs

Today we honor Navy SEAL Veteran Scott Wirtz in remembrance of his service and sacrifice for our country. https://t.co/rkkOXObR3P #VeteranOfTheDay #CarryTheLoad #NoVeteranEverDies

9 hours ago
profile_image

MD Anderson Cancer Center

@MDAndersonNews

10% of patients are admitted to MD Anderson with #pneumonia. Our @ScottEvansMD is working to protect #cancer patients from this and other lung diseases with a new aerosol treatment: https://t.co/Pbn9mjV7FT @CancerFrontline #endcancer

9 hours ago
profile_image

Memorial Hermann

@memorialhermann

@obstudiotexas We appreciate your feedback and have shared your concern with the appropriate contact person.

10 hours ago
profile_image

University of Houston

@UHouston

RT @UHpres: After beating Texas A&M, Cougar Softball beats Sam Houston...will play winner of UT/TAMU tomorrow at chance to win out Texas Re…

11 hours ago
profile_image

University of Houston

@UHouston

RT @UHCougarSB: BALL GAMEEEEE!!!!!!!! @presbell17 retires the side in order and completes the shutout victory!!#hoUSton #GoCoogs https://…

11 hours ago
profile_image

University of Houston

@UHouston

RT @NCAAsoftball: The Coogs are heading to the Regional Finals for the first time since 2011! @UHCougarSB blanks Sam Houston State, 5-0, an…

11 hours ago
profile_image

BCMHouston

@bcmhouston

Help give hope to patients against end-stage illnesses by investing in cancer research. Learn how you can help: https://t.co/4T5JCqKmZm #giving https://t.co/vFmZoE73jN

11 hours ago
profile_image

MD Anderson Cancer Center

@MDAndersonNews

“We’re exploring the tremendous opportunities to understand the immune system and turn it against #prostatecancer tumors,” says our Dr. Filippo Giancotti. #pcsm #CancerMoonshot #endcancer https://t.co/kSvhY7RLR6

12 hours ago
profile_image

MD Anderson Cancer Center

@MDAndersonNews

Congratulations to this year’s @MDA_UTHGrad graduates! We are proud of all that you’ve accomplished and look forward to seeing all that you do to #endcancer and advance the biomedical sciences in the years ahead. https://t.co/lWYhJk3zLd

13 hours ago
profile_image

CHI St. Luke's Health

@CHI_StLukes

Cramps, bloating, mood swings... #PMS can be a pain, so check out some of our favorite tips for easing the discomfort: https://t.co/kRYPi3shyx #NWHW #WomensHealthWeek https://t.co/9FYXvDjXtD

13 hours ago
profile_image

Rice University

@RiceUniversity

Tiny object, BIG project. How a Rice photographer captured the perfect shot for the cover of @sciencemagazine: https://t.co/lvgpYNfXLm https://t.co/5sPrElM1Lw

13 hours ago
profile_image

Harris Health System

@harrishealth

LBJ Hospital celebrated #NationalHospitalWeek with an ice cream sundae bar, popcorn, photo booth day and salsa tasting contest. https://t.co/9slCsNDHM3

14 hours ago