Art Therapy Program Launches for People with Epilepsy in Greater Los Angeles

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The Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Los Angeles partners with Lundbeck to use alternative therapies as a way to empower adults affected by seizures and educate the public about epilepsy.

For the second year in a row, the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Los Angeles will be offering the innovative Studio E: The Epilepsy Art Therapy Program for adults with epilepsy residing in and around Los Angeles County. As part of a national program taking place in 21 U.S. cities, Studio E empowers people affected by seizures to express what they’re feeling and connect with one another. It also results in powerful works of art that educate others with epilepsy – as well as the general public.

The Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Los Angeles will host the local Studio E program over numerous sessions between September 15 and October 20, 2012. Each session will be led by licensed art therapist Victoria Van Zandt from Santa Monica, CA.

“We are thrilled to offer Studio E to people in our region,” said Susan Pietsch-Escueta, the Executive Director of the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Los Angeles. “Alternative therapies have the potential to help people with epilepsy express their feelings, and art therapy is gaining momentum as a highly impactful form of therapy. It is one of the special programs available to members of our “Network for Adults” with epilepsy that provides opportunities for individuals and families affected by epilepsy to connect with others and combat the isolation often associated with epilepsy."

Studio E is made possible through a partnership with Lundbeck, a pharmaceutical company committed to people impacted by epilepsy. The program was piloted in 2011 by Epilepsy Foundation affiliates in Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Houston. Participants with seizure disorders of varying severity entered the program and took part in at least four, three-hour sessions led by licensed art therapists.

“The change that we witnessed among participants during the program was incredible,” said Haley Rittenhouse, an art therapist who participated in last year’s Chicago Studio E program. “One of the most touching things I heard was, ‘I didn’t think I was an artist until this program, and I didn’t know I could express my feelings this way.’”

People with epilepsy can face challenges due to limitations on activities and concerns about potential seizures and their implications, as well as some lack of understanding from others. Art therapy offers a chance to express emotions, connect with one another and ultimately inform others about the effects of epilepsy. Licensed art therapists will work with the participants to strengthen their artistic voices and share with the group in an open, welcoming environment.

With each individual artist’s permission, works of art will be available for viewing at local and national venues later in the year. These showcases are intended to raise awareness and understanding of epilepsy. Works of art created as part of the 2011 Studio E pilot program can be viewed online at

“As a pharmaceutical company focused on helping people with severe seizure disorders, we recognize the need for therapies that go beyond medications,” said Daniel Brennan, Vice President of Neurology at Lundbeck. “We continue to be inspired by the resilience and strength to never give up among those impacted by seizures, and offering this program represents Lundbeck’s ongoing commitment to those with epilepsy.”

To learn more about the local program, please contact Jennifer at or 310.670.2870.


One in 26 people will develop epilepsy in his or her lifetime. Without warning, seizures can happen to anyone at any age. When a person has two or more unprovoked seizures, they have epilepsy. Seizures do not all look the same and, according to the International League Against Epilepsy, there are currently more than 25 different recognized epilepsy syndromes affecting almost 3 million people in the U.S. and about 60 million people worldwide. Someone is diagnosed with epilepsy every three minutes and, this year alone, another 200,000 people in our country will be diagnosed. To date, there are no known cures.


Established in 1957, the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Los Angeles is the only nonprofit, 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated solely to serving the almost 160,000 people living with epilepsy throughout the 4-county region of Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino and Ventura. The Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Los Angeles is leading the fight to END EPILEPSY® and the burden of seizures. We focus on care, advocacy, research and education.


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