Art and Healing: Claudia Figallo’s Creative Arts Group

AHP’s Creative Arts Group gives clients a space to explore their relationship with drugs through drawing, writing, images, movement, and music. Claudia Figallo, a counselor and case manager with the AIDS and Substance Abuse Program (ASAP), developed this innovative program, which lasts eight weeks and can be used as an alternative or in addition to traditional 12-step groups.

Emily Drabant Conley, Abundance

Emily Drabant Conley, Abundance

Clients have told us that the use of art and movement helps them express, examine, and reflect on their experiences in ways words cannot. One client said, “I go to therapy, I’ve been to groups, and I’ve gone to AA and NA, and I feel like I get more out of the Creative Arts Group than any of those.”

The group begins with one of the co-facilitators ringing chimes, a signal to begin mindful breathing.  After clients check in verbally, they begin with a mild bodywork exercise, such as stretching or movement, to prepare for the theme of the evening.  The group explores varied themes, such as HIV, mental health, drug history, and relationships.  The main activity of the group involves making art, which participants have the option to share with the group. The session ends with a relaxation segment and closing remarks.

The Creative Arts Group meets on Wednesdays from 5:00 to 7:00 pm. It is open to all, regardless of HIV status, and does not require abstinence. To sign up for a brief, required, pre-group assessment, call 415-476-3902 from 9:00 to 11:00 am.

Read more about support groups at AHP.