Art as therapy: Patients use creativity to overcome pain

It started out as a simple experiment in what Johnstown Dr. Yi Yan Hong has been including in his pain management practice for years: Distraction therapy. He asked his patients with chronic pain to decorate an adult coloring book page featuring a horse’s head. “I gave them a blank sheet and they turn out this,” he said while preparing an exhibit of about 60 creations at Community Arts Center of Cambria County in Westmont. The exhibit opens Dec. 12 and runs through Jan. 6 in the Goldhaber-Fend Fine Arts Center, 1217 Menoher Blvd. A reception is planned for 5:30-6:30 p.m. on Jan. 6. Hong, along with his wife and office manager, Eugina Hong, and medical assistant, Debbie Katrancha, began hanging the exhibit last week in a second floor gallery. “Eugina approached us with this extraordinary concept they were working on with patients,” arts center Executive Director Angela Godin said. “They were using art as a form of therapy and distraction for pain.” The Community Arts Center has been increasingly focusing on the arts for healing, so it seemed a natural fit, Godin said. While some patients simply colored the page in a variety of hues, many expanded the assignment […]