Healing Arts Intensive Care Unit

SafeArt’s newest program, the Healing Arts Intensive Care Unit (HAICU) (pronounced “haiku”), a creation of Founding Director Tracy Penfield, uses a caring team approach to support women affected by mental illness and trauma.

How does HAICU work? A team of dedicated practitioners collaborates to offer weekly individual and group healing sessions over the course of several months to a year. Each practitioner brings to the team her own modality of healing art, which she uses to guide the participants through a session. These sessions all involve the limbic system of the brain, where trauma is held, and the transformative power of creative expression. A session could involve energy healing, breath work, movement, meditation or acupuncture. It could also involve drawing, painting, writing or simply taking a walk outdoors. Participants’ individual psychotherapists are invited to collaborate closely with the team, and individual needs and goals are a primary focus. The focus is on skills building through creative expression.

As HAICU participants gain independence and strength, they begin to undertake some form of community service, i.e. volunteer work of their choosing. This is a good way for them to give back and to engage with others in the community. They also may pair up with another HAICU participant in a peer mentoring system. Eventually, they will receive fewer individual sessions and continue to participate in SafeArt’s group programs, such as Healing Arts for Women and Dancing Women~Healing Spirits.

Funds for HAICU come from grants, donations and participants at their ability to pay. We are currently accepting new participants. To learn more, call us at (802) 685-3138.