Hailing from Montreal, Canada, is 20-year veteran painter and mental health professional, Michel Langlois. Enhancing the lives of his patients through the arts and contributing to the creative integrity of his beautiful city are a few of Michel’s central humanitarian objectives. When asked why the arts are so impactful in his field of work, Michel responded,
The arts begin with an emotional connection and allow people to travel outside of themselves. Through the arts, it’s easy, and the more you do, the more you understand and develop yourself.
Michel believes that successful integration of the arts and therapy begins with valuing the patient’s humanity, an approach that differs radically from merely addressing symptoms with drugs. The idea is liberation from suffering, not anesthetization, and painting, dance, music, song, and many other creative activities powerfully do this.
In addition to mental health, Michel believes that the arts are essential to creating strong communities. Canada, especially Montreal, is a mix of Native American, French, English, and many other cultures, each having its own values and conventions. By embracing the cultural expressions of these groups, one can better understand and empathize with them,
The arts are a research and an expression of who we are. It helps us to be more clear, more real and more sincere.
Authenticity is lost when an individual lacks personal clarity, which makes connecting with others impossible, especially people from diverse backgrounds. Building strong communities obviously requires more than simply embracing the arts; however, the arts are a powerful window into the values and beliefs of others and are an essential part of any culture’s identity.
Montreal is a beautifully diverse metropolitan city with thriving art and music scenes, and it was helpful to gain perspective as to why this is the case. It was also encouraging to hear stories of patients suffering from mental disabilities finding solace through music, dance, painting, and other forms of creative expressions. I want to thank Michel Langlois for the wonderful work wielding the power of the arts and for taking the time to contribute to my understanding of the universal power of the arts.