Alan R. Mack Speaker Series...

Rethinking the Paradigm of Aging

1.5 CEs with Wendy Miller, PhD, REAT, ATR-BC, LPC, LCPAT

Wendy Miller, PhD
Wendy Miller, PhD

Wendy Miller, PhD will share how to tap into positive potential while facing the intersections of adversity and possibility, of crisis and creativity, and of health and illness.


$20 including 1.5 Social Work CEs

Monday, August 21, 2017

11 am - 12:30 pm - Followed by a book sale and signing

Rockdale Temple Social Hall 8501 Ridge Road, Cincinnati 45236

Brown Bag Lunch event


Register online now


This professional training draws deeply on the lessons learned as Wendy Miller and her late husband Gene Cohen, who was a pioneering geriatric psychiatrist and writer about creative aging, struggled through aging, illness, and loss within their own family, including Cohen’s untimely death. Their newly released book Sky Above Clouds: Finding our way through creativity, aging and illness asks: What happens at the intersection of adversity and possibility, crisis and creativity, health and illness?


Creative aging refers to the ability of individuals to expand upon existing skills and grow new ones as a result of pre-existing and emergent age-conferred skills such as creativity, wisdom, and resilience. Notions of successful aging and positive aging focus on the resistance of the aging body and mind to expected decline in late life; creative aging focuses instead on growth because of, and not in spite of, aging.


Developmental intelligence is one core concept of creative aging as it describes what Cohen called the "maturing of cognition, emotional intelligence, judgment, social skills, life experience and consciousness and their integration and synergy." This force helps to set up the human potential phases in late life which describe periods of personal growth, experimentation, liberation and renewal that elevate the aging process in ways that are often obscured by narrow and ageist perspectives on later life. 



Participants will:

  • Review the key concepts in the developmental work of Dr. Gene Cohen on brain plasticity, changes in the aging brain, and the role of creativity in mastery, sense of control and social engagement
  • Study new tools to navigate the uncharted territories where creativity, illness, and resilience influence each other
  • Identify creative aging directives to use as therapeutic interventions with clients and caregivers
  • Identify ways to expand one's potential for meaning in our older years while exploring the paradigm of aging 

Bio: Wendy Miller Ph.D., LPC-BCPC, ATR-BC, LCPAT, REAT, is an expressive arts therapist, licensed professional counselor, educator, writer, and sculptor. Her PhD is in Clinical Psychology with Specializations in Expressive Arts Therapy and Health. She is the co-founder of Create Therapy Institute offering clinical services in arts-based psychotherapy and trainings in experiential approaches to learning. Her clinical work with individuals and families across the life-cycle addresses existential and identity issues and relationships among the arts, creativity, aging, and health. Her book, Sky Above Clouds: Finding our way through creativity, aging and illness is based on writings with her late husband Gene Cohen.


Miller has taught throughout the country at many universities, including GW, SF State, JFK University, Lesley, and CIIS. She is a founding member and first elected (past) executive co-chair of the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association (IEATA), where she is on their Advisory Council. She is also on the Advisory Board of Maine General’s Healthy Living Resource Center, and Blossom Arts Board of Advisors.


Miller is an integrative thinker, whose skills take her into the worlds of fine art, writing, and mind-body medicine. She has published on medical illness and the arts as complementary medicine, the use of sand tray therapy with internationally adopted children, experiential approaches to supervision in expressive arts therapy, and the cultural responsibility of the arts in therapy. Her current work continues Cohen's legacy in creative aging. She is now running his Washington, DC, Center on Aging, where she is guiding it into projects on intergenerational communication. She continues to research the relationships among the arts, creativity, and health. 

Publication description (Oxford University Press): Sky Above Clouds shows the merging worlds of creativity, aging, illness, healing, dying, and grieving as they unfold to the limits of medical knowledge and life itself. Both practical and philosophical, it illuminates and enlivens what is often a shadowy landscape of aging or of illness or adversity at any age. With the power of creativity and the synergy of creativity and healing, this territory is no longer a wasteland, but akin to a flower garden, blossoming with new research and findings, teeming with activity.


Gene Cohen was undeniably one of the founding fathers and great luminaries of the fields of both geriatric psychiatry and

creative aging. Sky Above Clouds is a story of creativity as a catalyst for growth, hope, love, and healing at every stage of life. This personal narrative, written by Cohen and Miller together, illuminates the starkly complex dimensions of their experience at the intersection of adversity and possibility.


Questions? Email or leave a message at 513-766-3303


Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati