The Glowing Journey of Golden Agers through Expressive Arts
Centre on Behavioral Health, The University of Hong Kong
Founded in 2002, the Centre on Behavioral Health was set up under the Faculty of Social Sciences of The University of Hong Kong. The Centre cares about the society and aims at promoting holistic health in the community. Over the years, it maintains its visions to: integrate Western and Eastern philosophies and healing modalities to open up new knowledge in holistic health; adopt an unbiased and scientific approach to research on holistic health; provide professional trainings as well as education; and offer services to enhance individual and community wellbeing.
The Centre has built a multi-disciplinary team with different professional backgrounds. They include social workers, creative and expressive arts therapists and full-time researchers.
Mission and Vision
Empirical research in advancing health promotion, psychosocial intervention and other holistic health practices is one of the core objectives of CBH. We have benefited immensely from its unique position within the highly research-oriented Faculty of Social Sciences. Continuous intellectual exchanges and multidisciplinary collaborations between departments have made possible our undertaking of various projects that focus on a wide array of contemporary health issues for addressing the challenges faced by the general population. As a result, CBH has made immense progress in becoming a Centre of excellence in empirical clinical research, intervention model development and scale development that can inform professional education programmes and behavioral interventions.
Research Initiatives & Strategy
CBH is well known for its innovative and multi-disciplinary approach to research. Over the past years, the Centre had successfully secured numerous grants and external peer-reviewed funding to conduct a wide range of empirical clinical research in the areas of holistic health practices, psychosocial clinical interventions, public health and mental health, post-traumatic growth, cancer survivorship, grief and bereavement, and Thanatology just to name a few. More recently, CBH have expanded in other health-related research areas and disciplines including, but not limited to, studies on life and death education, disaster management and social capacity building, syndrome of stagnation, expressive therapies for health promotion, qigong and chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic illness and quality of life, psychosocial morbidity of miscarriage and in vitro fertilization(IVF), antenatal and postpartum depression, transgenerational impact on child abuse, dignity at the end-of-life, etc. Such vast arrays of innovative and international collaborative research programmes which are funded either through External Peer-Reviewed Funding or University Seed Funding and are very much in line with the strategic research theme on Human Health and Development, particularly Healthy Aging and Public Health, indentified by the University as focused topics for development.
Development of Cultural Specific Therapeutic Models
By bridging Eastern and Western health philosophies and practices, the Centre has developed the Body-Mind-Spirit (BMS) psychosocial intervention model for health enhancement, illness prevention and treatment. The BMS model has also been modified to meet the specific needs of different clientele, such as individuals suffering from cancer, stroke, and systemic lupus erythematosis (SLE); persons facing interpersonal loss and bereavement; victims of natural disasters; couples with infertility problem; women facing sexual abuse and domestic violence; adults suffering from depression/stagnation; and human service professionals facing high work stress and burnt-out. Both outcome and process studies have been conducted on this model, generating strong and consistent evidence in supporting its efficacy. Furthermore, a large number of new research initiatives on psychosocial intervention research programmes using the BMS model, Chinese yangsheng philosophies and practices such as Acupuncture, Taichi and Qigong, as well as expressive therapies including in dance movement, art and play therapies have also been launched. In the forthcoming years, CBH will continue its efforts in developing other culturally relevant and integrative models of health practices and therapies that are more fitting to the Asian population.
Standardization of Therapeutic Techniques
With reference to traditional holistic health practices, especially those in line with traditional Chinese medicine and philosophy, a number of simple, effective mind/body therapeutic techniques have been developed and standardized. These techniques include acupressure, massage, meditation/mindfulness training, body work, self-affirmation, and use of traditional virtues, etc. These useful techniques make holistic, multi-modal intervention possible.
Establishment of Salivary Cortisol Laboratory
The Centre has established the first salivary cortisol laboratory in Asia which plays a pivotal role in a number of research projects that examine psycho-neuro-immunological outcome. In particular, the laboratory is now establishing the local data on Diurnal pattern of cortisol among Chinese adults in Hong Kong. The laboratory has also attracted local and international collaboration on psycho-physiological research in mind-body health and well-being, with world renowned partners such as Dr. David Spiegel at Stanford University, USA, and Prof. Phil Evan at the University of Westminster, UK.
Development of Clinical Assessment Tools
The Centre has developed and validated a number of useful assessment tools, most notably on body-mind-spirit well-being, stagnation, screening of psychosocial risks among cancer patients, spirituality and death-related attitudes. Such scale validation exercises deepened the understanding on theoretical constructs and generated rich findings that inform theory building and clinical practice. Some of these instruments are widely adopted by mental health practitioners and researchers locally and overseas.
Nurturing of Research Staffs and Post-Graduate Students
CBH has established its reputation as a world-class clinical research Centre in psychosocial and holistic interventions. Many of its RPG graduates have become Full or Associate Professors and Heads of Departments in various universities all over the world. CBH will continue this tradition in providing the highest standards of faculty and facility to train and house a sizeable number of post graduate students at both the Masters and Doctorate levels.