Occupational Therapy’s Unique Value in Mental Health

Creative Occupational Therapy

          As Painted Brain’s initial occupational therapy doctoral resident, my task is to develop an occupational therapy service line that coincides with Painted Brain’s mission to provide opportunities for socialization and community integration to adults with mental illness. An initial step in this endeavor involves developing a deep understanding of why occupational therapy is perfectly suited for this work, and why a community-based organization, such as Painted Brain, is perfectly situated to offer this type of service.

Occupational therapy is a holistic health service that is integral to the recovery process, due to expertise in the areas of occupational engagement and participation, activity analysis, group dynamics, neurophysiology, environmental evaluation and adaptation, and psychosocial skill development. The term ‘occupation’ refers to a variety of activities that humans engage in on a daily basis, and these activities fall into categories such as “self-care”, “leisure”, “work or productivity”…

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Music and Mental Health: Guess Who

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The phrase “mental health” does not always need to have a negative connotation. Often a brain that functions differently can lead to beautiful and wonderful things, especially within the artistic realm. One area where this can be apparent is in the creation of music. Some of the greatest musical geniuses faced some serious mental health issues. We admire their work, continuing into even hundreds of years later, and this work inspires others to create more amazing things. One such composer even gained the admiration and respect of the likes of Mozart and Beethoven, with Mozart expanding on one of his pieces, and Beethoven hailing him as “the greatest composer that ever lived.” Born in Germany in 1685, this composer spent most of his days living in London, actually becoming a naturalized British subject in 1727. He loved writing Italian operas, but he also wrote English oratorios; his greatest…

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Rolling Solo: The Art Cart and Mental Illness

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On October 6th 2017 The Art Cart embarked on its second trip to MacArthur Park and this time around we were rolling solo.  The other organization that bring services to the Park were not present this week, but the Art Cart team decided to forge ahead on their own. We are continuing   to do community outreach within MacArthur Park.IMG_4129[1]

We began the day by assembling more hygiene kits, with these fresh provisions, the team was ready to tackle doing some outreach on our own. I myself have never done direct outreach before and was rather nervous about the experience, but we made quite a few meaningful connections with individuals. Community outreach can be challenging due to the need to break down barriers and create meaningful connections quickly. The first step for me was to begin with a simply hello and how are you doing. This initiated conversation and I began…

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Painted Brain Gets Pinterest-y!

On February 15, 2017, Painted Brain held a workshop at our headquarters. Led by one of our interns from Project Return Peer Support Network (PRPSN), participants were led through the process of setting up a Pinterest account, posting articles, videos, fave photos, and more. Many participants were new to Pinterest. By the end of the workshop, everyone had a Pinterest account set up, and has already created a few boards and posted a few articles videos and photos from Google Images, Flickr, and such.


The Pinterest workshop is the first in a series of social media marketing workshops to be held as an umbrella of the Painted Brain Academy project. We have in the past provided workshops in:

Peer Leader Training,

Public Speaking,


Journalistic writing,

and Social Media.

We’re working on turning it into a year-round program.


What the caterpillar calls the end of the world…



What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls the butterfly is a quote from Richard Bach’s wonderful book called Illusions. There are a number of quotes from this book that I use everyday to reorder my thinking positively.  This one speaks to paradigm shifting and perspective.

It’s really brilliant.  It uses something we all understand – metamorphosis – to focus us on a different perspective of endings and beginnings.  For the caterpillar it is the end of life – for the butterfly it is the beginning of life but for that entity it is a change in how life is experienced.

The Death and Tower cards in the Tarot – a form of divination  – are often interpreted in this fashion that an ending is also a beginning.  The death card can be interpreted as an end that leads to a NEW beginning.  The tower…

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WordCraft Workshop celebrates 1yr Anniversary!

Check out the latest featured poems!

To see our full poetry gallery visit here.

The Enigma Within the Enigma

by Sandy Weisberg 

Is this really me and not a dream –

As my rabbi tried to explain
that this reality is the dream

and that reality with God

is not a dream, but just
the mystery engulfed within
the mystery we call life,

liberty and the pursuit of happiness –

The soft velvet touch of a baby’s cheek,

the cry of a lobster boiling

in a pot of bubbly water,

a woman’s stretching sigh.

UCLA Arts & Healing


I’ve been to three conferences this year. Why do I go to all these conferences? Why is healing important? How do I find mental health in music, art and writing?

It was a good conference. I took a workshop in singing, and one on creating cards that speak and one on voice that listens. DMH footed the bill. Why? Why is it important that people who are unemployed, without transportation, work histories, credit and sometimes homes and cellphones get to go to the LAX Hilton to be out of space with MFAs and PHDs with MACs and Kale Lunches and Smart Phones?

Art is a lot like society, I think. It’s starts with the doodles, and ends with opera, includes the actors and the gaffers and the people coughing in their recliners. There are no homeless in the orchestra. There is no “White Only” sign. This opera is the lyric…

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