Butler Hospital is enhancing patient care through piloting a new program that incorporates healing arts into treatment. Partnering with The Healing Arts: New Pathways to Health, Butler staff and patients will work with master artists using music, dance, and poetry to promote healing and improve mood. Butler is the first acute-care hospital to work with The Healing Arts program.
Over the next three months, The Healing Arts will train Butler staff while working with patients in group sessions. “The creative process can help people cope better with stress, help them work through difficult experiences, and improve mood,” said Barbara Ostrove, director of occupational therapy at Butler. Cornell Coley, one of the musicians from The Healing Arts added, “Drumming, for example, provides a distraction from feelings of anxiety, is physically and mentally engaging, and gives people an opportunity to let go of what is in their mind for a period of time. It also works on a subconscious emotional level through the feel of the drum and sound of the beat.”
The goal of the program is to enhance patient care and demonstrate healing arts as a viable treatment modality that supports a patient’s recovery and treatment. Throughout the fall, the community is invited to follow a blog which will be updated by The Healing Arts artists and Butler staff each day they conduct sessions at the hospital. The blog will be on Butler’s Facebook and Twitter pages ( and ). Incorporating The Healing Arts program into patient care is a continuation of other enhancements Butler has made to treatment over the last five years, some of which include pet therapy, sensory modulation strategies, art classes by PeaceLove Studios in Pawtucket, and the creation of a meditation CD produced and recorded by Butler staff for patients. During the pilot, Butler staff will collect data on the effectiveness of the Healing Arts program by surveying patients using a mood scale before and after the various activities and through patient satisfaction surveys.
The Healing Arts: New Pathways to Health is a nationally recognized organization that assists in training health care organization’s clinical staff in innovative new treatment methods using creative arts. Created in 2004, the organization is a regional arts and healing program developed in partnership with the Massachusetts Cultural Council and a consortium of arts and healthcare organizations in Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire. In 2005, the organization was recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies with a National Accessibility Leadership Award. “We are thrilled to partner with Butler Hospital in advancing the field of arts and healing by launching a multi-disciplinary program there this fall,” said Patricia Pedreira MA ATR, director of The Healing Arts.
The Healing Arts received funding from the Rhode Island Foundation and the Baker Foundation to fund the project for an organization with matching funds. Butler was able to match the funds using monies received from various CARE Awards, a recognition program that honors individuals and teams throughout the Care New England system who have made outstanding contributions in improving customer satisfaction.
Founded in 1844, Butler Hospital is Rhode Island’s only private, nonprofit psychiatric and substance abuse hospital for adults, adolescents, children, and seniors. Butler is affiliated with The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and is the flagship hospital for its department of psychiatry, which has been recognized by its peers as one of the top ten in the United States. A national leader in the development of acute psychiatric and substance abuse treatment, Butler has earned a national reputation as a major teaching and research facility.