Skip to content

A Reunion of East and West: Reflections on the Roots of Creative Arts Therapy and Traditional Chinese Medicine



Krystal Demaine

This article shares a reflection from a workshop conducted by four Creative Arts Therapy colleagues who live both across American and Beijing, China. The workshop explored a relationship between western practices of creative arts therapy (CAT) and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Participants of the workshop included undergraduate students and members from a private liberal arts college. The arts based components of the workshop included musical sounds, movement, color, and painting. The deeply ancient and richly artistic Chinese culture maintains its roots in wellness and healing through the practice of TCM. Through the workshop presentation the relationship between TCM and CAT were discussed within the context of current western literature. The role of collaborative and experiential learning as a method of pedagogy within this workshop highlighted the interdisciplinary nature and hands on learning that is most salient to the study of CAT as well as TCM. The challenges and positives that can emerge within collaborative pedagogy are considered and discussed.

本文反映了一个由四位创造性艺术治疗同事组织的工作坊。他们均生活在美国和中国北 京。工作坊探索了西方创造性艺术治疗实践(CAT)和中国传统医学(TCM)的关系。 工作坊的参与者包括来自一所私立大学文科专业的学生和成员。

工作坊中艺术为基础的因素包括音乐、动作、颜色和绘画。深厚和丰富的中国古代艺术 文化通过中国传统医学保持了其丰富性和疗愈性。通过工作坊的展示,中国传统医学 (TCM)和西方创造性艺术治疗实践(CAT)的关系在当今西方文学的背景下得以讨 论。合作性和体验性学习作为该工作坊的教育方法,强调创造性艺术治疗和中国传统医 学中最突出的跨学科属性和实用性学习。本文还考虑并讨论了合作性教育中能够出现的 挑战和正面效应。

Krystal Demaine

1 Endicott College, USA

1 Demaine, K. (2016, April). Creative healing: Exploring the roots and essence of art therapy at Endicott College. Dad and Mom: Art Giving Life, Linda Mary Montano and Ed Woodham, exhibition catalog. Endicott College, Heftler Gallery. Beverly, MA, USA.

2 Demaine, K. & Richardson, J. (2010, March). Expressive therapies and traditional Chinese medicine. Community of Scholars Day at Lesley University. Cambridge, MA.

3 Demaine, K. & Richardson, J. F. (2015). The arts and natural health: A merging of creative arts therapies and traditional Chinese medicine. In Brooke S. L. & Meyers C. (Eds.), Therapists Creating a Cultural Tapestry: Using the Creative Therapies Across Cultures (pp. 57-73). Springfield, Il: Charles C. Thomas.

4 Demaine, K. (2015). Musical roots for healing: The five tone system in traditional Chinese medicine. In Brooke S. L. & Meyers C. (Eds.), Therapists Creating a Cultural Tapestry: Using the Creative Therapies Across Cultures (pp. 154-169). Springfield, Il: Charles C. Thomas.

5 Demaine, K. (2014, June). Merging voices and finding harmony in co-teaching. A doctoral student’s experiences of co-teaching a music therapy course with her doctoral advisor. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy, 14(2). Retrieved from:

6 Knill, P. Barba, H, & Fuchs, M. (2004). Minstrels of the soul: Intermodal expressive therapy. (2nd Ed.) Ontario, Canada: EGS Press.

7 Kossak, M. (2008). Therapeutic attunement: A transpersonal view of expressive arts therapy. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 36(1), p. 13-18.

8 McNiff, S. (1992). Art as Medicine: Creating a Therapy of the Imagination. Boston, MA: Shambhala.

9 McNiff, S. (1998). Trust the process: An artist’s guide to letting go. Boston: Shambhala.

10 McNiff, S. (2009). Integrating the arts in therapy: History, theory, and practice. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas.

11 Nin, A. (1967). The diary of Anias Nin. Orlando, FL. Harcourt Brace and Company.

12 Rappaport, L. 2015. Mindfulness and the arts therapies: Theory and practice.

13 Reid, D. (1996). The Shambhala guide to traditional Chinese medicine: An essential introduction to the theory and practice of an ancient healing art. Boston, MA: Shambhala. Philadelphia, PA: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

14 Su, W. (1966). Huang Ti nei ching su wên: The yellow emperor’s classic of internal medicine (I. Vieth-trans.). Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press.

15 Super Qi Weekend. (2016). Retrieved from

16 Tzu, L. & Streep, P. (1994). Tao te ching. Boston, MA: Little Brown and Company.

17 Unschuld, P. (2003). Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen: Nature, Knowledge, Imagery in an Ancient Chinese Medical Text. England, UK: University of California Text.


Export Citation