BodyMind Approach + Expressive Arts

The BodyMind Approach to Well-Being is an integrative approach to overall mental and physical well-being through the coalescence of body consciousness and psychic balance, achieved through self-expression with both body and mind. BodyMind Expressive Arts may include: drawing, painting, sculpture, collage, printmaking, photography, yoga, dancing, singing, sandplay, play therapy, psychodrama, role-playing, storytelling and dreamwork.

The BodyMind Approach to Well-Being was launched by BeautifulMind in July 2017, at the JENGA IV Workshop “MHPSS for Children, Adolescents, Families and Communities: The BodyMind Approach to Well-Being.” The training was targeted toward MHPSS practitioners (psychologists, psychiatrists, drug and alcohol counsellors, church and school counsellors) from East Africa and included theoretical and interactive sessions on the use of expressive arts to alleviate anxiety and depression, integrate body consciousness and awareness to increase psychic balance, harmony and a sense of wholeness.

BodyMind Expressive Arts can be used by MHPSS practitioners, in particular in low-resource settings, to help their clients and patients to return to the body as a fulcrum of stability and for their own self-care. BMC has been requested to scale the BodyMind Approach to both the Middle East and India and these plans are under way for 2019-2020.

The approach is low-tech, easily scaled, comprehensible and has a potential to impact the mental and physical well-being of both adults and children, families and communities, in East Africa, Asia and the Middle-East

The BodyMind Approach addresses the lack of mental health and psycho-social support service providers in low-resource countries and the prevalence of mental disorders. In the recent report of Global Health Estimates by the World Health Organization (2017), “Depressive disorders led to a global total of over 50 million Years Lived with Disability (YLD) in 2015. More than 80% of this non-fatal disease burden occurred in low- and middle-income countries.” Globally, depressive disorders are ranked as the single largest contributor to non-fatal health loss (WHO/MSD/MER/2017.2, © World Health Organization 2017).

Our theory of change is premised on the notion that the integration of body and mind is essential to the individual’s whole health and healing. The BodyMind Approach is being piloted with several international and East African partners, such as Pronto International (Seattle, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation), Kilimanjaro Initiative (Nairobi, funded by the UNFCU) and the Nisela Group, a Nairobi-based Social Enterprise focused on Children’s Mental Health. The BodyMind Approach was presented by BeautifulMind at the Fifth Global Summit on Mental Health in Johannesberg in February 2018.