Art Heals

11th International Expressive Arts Therapy Conference: Crossing Boarders for…

Last October 5, we set our hearts and our feet on the rainy streets of Hong Kong to join the eleventh conference of the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association. This was the first time that this conference was held in Asia and our high spirits cannot contain the joyous anticipation to experience this event that we never imagined we’ll be a part of.

Though wrapped in enormous excitement, we took time to rest and allowed ourselves for days of quiet time. These moments never failed in setting us to ponder on the things we need to focus on in the conference. As one of the 50 presenters of this conference, we recognize the need for not only mind preparation, but more importantly, connecting to our inner self, so we can give fully to others.

11th International Expressive Arts Therapy Conference Hong Kong, Artist Madhouse Expressive Art Meditation
The conference was not the way we expected. Being first timers in attending an international conference and as well as being presenters, we felt an uncomfortable overwhelm meeting great people from all over the world. Many of them we look up to as they are very experienced and well-respected expressive arts therapists, activists, and general practitioners. But, this conference that started as an uncomfortable place for us became a family, to the point we felt that we were in a family reunion! All of them, most especially the pioneers, were very accepting and welcoming. Their humble souls drew our heartstrings that enabled us to have more faith in what we do.

The series of expressive arts activities revealed so much of ourselves and opened us to more soulful encounters with the other participants. We realized that cultural diversity is not a hindrance, but rather, an exciting opportunity to experience more and to learn more from people across the board. Our interchange of ideas, beliefs, practices, and methodologies brought forth more enrichment and even more, friendship.

11th International Expressive Arts Therapy Conference Hong Kong, Artist Madhouse Expressive Art Meditation

We conducted the workshop entitled, “Cultivating Connectedness with Expressive Art Meditation” in the afternoon session of October 8. This workshop was specifically designed to give a quiet space for us expressive arts practitioners, to reconnect to their true self in the pursuit of giving more to the people we serve. Again, just like here in the Philippines, synchronicity happened. The interweaving of stories united us into cultivating the connection that binded us as human beings — being there for each other. We were almost in tears when the participants expressed their gratitude, seeing that we prepared everything carefully, and for our presence that was deeply felt in the session. But, as facilitators, we were more thankful for their total engagement which made the session helpful to them.

11th International Expressive Arts Therapy Conference Hong Kong, Artist Madhouse Expressive Art Meditation

Lastly, we would like to thank all the Filipinos we met in this conference. They were our instant family while we walked on the unfamiliar streets of this conference. Their generosity in sharing their resources and their passion in promoting more awareness of the expressive arts in the Philippines moved us to learn more and to love more. We were one in saying that the IEATA Conference in Hong Kong is a fresh venue to start something and to continue what was started — crossing boarders again through archipelagos to love, to learn, and to serve.

Speaking Invitations

Inspiring Young Souls to True Success

When we got the invitation to give an inspirational talk for graduating high school students from different schools about having a well-rounded personality to attain success, we felt a bit overwhelmed. Since we are just starting out to fly to our dream destination, we were wondering what to impart to these students. Simply we asked: What will they learn from us?

Realizing that these young dreamers are still discerning their purpose in life, it is worth sharing our journey towards finding our life purpose. We often think that we can only help and inspire people when we are already on top of our game, when we have proven something to the world, when we have titles, fat paychecks or when we become renowned experts in our chosen field.

Living a life of significance is not about solo climbing to the peak of success then pulling others afterwards. It is about pushing and encouraging others to step up the ladder of purpose with you and together climbing towards the destination. For years we’ve gone through so many trials and errors before finally aligning with our passion, potential and God’s purpose for us. From these ordeals we have gained wisdom and built the right character in pursuing our dream. This is our story and it moved them.

Artist Madhouse Expressive Art Meditation UE Talk Artist Madhouse Expressive Art Meditation UE Talk Artist Madhouse Expressive Art Meditation UE Talk Artist Madhouse Expressive Art Meditation UE Talk


After the talk, some of the students and teachers approached us and thanked us for sharing our inspiring story. They enjoyed our comical way of storytelling. Thank you, Rachelle Batanes of the University of the East, for inviting us.

Are you still trying to figure out how to find your passion and purpose? Our Expressive Art Meditation workshop can help you realize that! Expressive Art Meditation is a fusion of expressive art and guided meditation to help you in self-discovery and enlightenment.

If you want to experience Expressive Art Meditation in your school, organization or groups, feel free to contact us.
Art Heals

Loose Parts Workshop for Art and Play

We are priveleged to conduct a workshop as part of the continuing education program of Kythe for Child Life Coordinators (CLCs) and volunteers. The workshop aims to encourage CLCs and volunteers to use loose parts (materials that can be moved, carried, combined, redesigned, lined up, and taken apart and put back together in multiple ways. They are materials with no specific set of directions that can be used alone or combined with other materials) in facilitating art and play on child patients in their designated hospitals. Our goal was to have an interactive workshop, where everyone in the room will be proactive by sharing their experiences and giving suggestions on how to make our activities more creative, interesting and relevant to the Child Life Program.

An introductory lecture was given on Simon Nicholson’s “Loose Parts Theory” by Dr. Angie Sievert-Fernandez, Kythe Child Life Program Manager and Certified Practitioner in Therapeutic Play Skills. It got more exciting and inspiring upon viewing Caine’s Arcade. This video features a boy named Caine, using loose parts to build an arcade with fun games.

After the discussion of expectations and specific objectives for the workshop, we formally began. The workshop has three parts: Story-Based Activities, Recreational Play and Therapeutic/Medical Play. These are among the many ways we can keep the child patients engaged in participating in activities in the hospitals.

1. Story Based Activities

Loose Parts Workshop 01

In this part, we used the storybook “Kapitan Kimo” as an example to present various options to participants. The following presentations are based on what we actually did as volunteer work for one of Kythe’s affiliate hospital, Philippine Children’s Medical Center.

Kythe Loose Parts Workshop by Artist Madhouse
<strong>ARTS AND CRAFTS</strong><br />The kids made their own costumes using sticks, fabrics, and papers.
Kythe Loose Parts Workshop by Artist Madhouse
<strong>ROLE PLAY / PUPPET SHOW</strong><br />Kids used the capes they made and sticks with yarns as weapons to act like superheroes like Kapitan Kimo.
Kythe Loose Parts Workshop by Artist Madhouse
<strong>GAMES</strong><br />In this example, the child superheroes help Kapitan Kimo kill the cancer kilabot cells, represented by newspaper cutouts.<br />
Kythe Loose Parts Workshop by Artist Madhouse
<strong>MUSIC AND MOVEMENT</strong><br />Inspired by the Worry Doll Making activity, the children were taught how to sing “Hakuna Matata” and enjoyed dancing with the song.
Kythe Loose Parts Workshop by Artist Madhouse
<strong>CREATIVE STORYTELLING</strong><br />The flow of the story depends on the kids, and can be initiated by the CLC or volunteer.

Kythe Loose Parts Workshop by Artist MadhouseTo wrap up, everyone participated on an activity based on the storybook, “Bayong ng Kuting (A Bagful of Kittens)” (Story by: Mae Astrid Tobias; Illustrations by: Ghani Madueño). On this activity, the participants were asked to create a letter, card, or anything where they can put a short message of gratitude to someone who taught them, guided them, took care of them, loved them, inspired them, etc. Same activity can be used with child patients as expression of gratitude to their family and medical people who are taking care of them.

The participants experienced a creativity exercise before proceeding to the second part of the workshop. They were asked to create a scene or picture by connecting the three line drawings provided on the paper.

Kythe Loose Parts Workshop by Artist Madhouse

2. Recreational Play

This lecture presented where we can get ideas for recreational play. First, we can get ideas from Filipino games with loose parts as tools for play: sungka, holens, dampa, tiyakad, tumbang preso, sipa. Second, we can get inspiration from “Minute to Win it” challenges like Ponginator, Stay on Key and Maze Craze. Third, we can make a building game. Suggest a scene and ask the kids to work together to create it. The image below shows a child patient making a toy car out of plastic cups, yarn, stick and large beads.

Kythe Loose Parts Workshop by Artist Madhouse

3. Therapeutic/Medical Play

We can apply the concept of the marble game to explain chemotherapy. The white beads represent the healthy cells, red beads represent the cancer cells and yellow represents the chemotherapy drug. The goal is to use chemo beads to eliminate the cancer beads outside the paper and try to avoid hitting the healthy cells.

This activity shows that in chemotherapy, it is inevitable that good cells will be hit while the cancer cells are being destroyed. This explains why patients feel weaker after chemotherapy.

Kythe Loose Parts Workshop by Artist Madhouse

MRI and Dextrose
The doll is made of foam sponge. The dextrose stand is made of bendable straw, plastic cup, string and paper clip.

Kythe Loose Parts Workshop by Artist Madhouse

In this game, the participants were grouped into four. Given a time frame, they should be able to come up with a scene based on the given word, using loose parts. With this activity, the participants enjoyed using different loose parts as props.

Kythe Loose Parts Workshop by Artist Madhouse
Kythe Loose Parts Workshop by Artist Madhouse
Kythe Loose Parts Workshop by Artist Madhouse
Kythe Loose Parts Workshop by Artist Madhouse

The final activity challenged the participants on practical application of everything they have learned in the workshop. They were divided into three groups. The first group will make an activity based on a story book of their choice. The second group will make a game as a form of recreational play. The third group will make a game based on medical or therapeutic play.

Kythe Loose Parts Workshop by Artist Madhouse

What a great learning day, not only for the participants, but also for us as facilitators! As we imparted our knowledge to our fellows, we learned from them as well, through the ideas they shared on the discussions and inspiring stories from their personal experiences in their work.

If you want to volunteer for Kythe, you are very most welcome! Please visit them at