Health and Wellness

Healing Through Creativity

Desiree Cox MD Ph.D.

Healing Through Creativity – ‘Dancing Trees, Flowing Birds and River Waves’

What do Al Gore, David Abrams and Jeffrey Pflaum have in common? In this week’s Healing Through Creativity, host Dr. Desiree Cox talks to former inner-city New York elementary school teacher Jeffrey Pflaum about returning passion, meaning, fun, imagination, curiosity, wonder, and magic to adolescent reading. After 30 years as a school-teacher at a tough school in New York, Pflaum has written a book that shows parents and young readers how bring the joy back into reading. Cox and Pflaum talk about how his inquiry and passion-based strategy helps teachers and parents to empower their kids to discover, understand, and appreciate reading beyond the current testing culture.
‘Its amazing how symbols on a page can trigger an intertwining and overlapping of the senses so we see and experience emotions and objects.’ says Cox.
‘For me this passion for bringing the fun back into reading started while I was teaching’, says Pflaum. ‘The system is now so focused on reading and testing. But this wasn’t always so when I started teaching back in the 1960s. All the testing has taken the fun and magic out of reading for young people’, says Pflaum. ‘I wanted to help kids and their parents see how important it was reading to be fun so I came up with this approach of asking questions. I’d ask the kids these questions designed to trigger responses about their reading experiences, and then get them to write about it. And it worked.’
Who is Jeffrey Pflaum? As an inner-city elementary school teacher Pflaum created innovative projects in reading, writing, thinking, creativity, poetry, Emotional Intelligence, concentration, and vocabulary which culminated in his book titled, Motivating Teen and Pre-teen Readers: How Teachers and Parents Can Lead the Way (Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2011). He has written articles for professional newspapers and magazines about his work. Some of these programs appear on major education web sites such as ERIC, Education Resource Information Center, and CASEL, Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning. He has also inspired his students to write poems which have been published in college, gifted secondary, writers’, and children’s literary journals, and by commercial book publishers. Pflaum has read their poetry and prose on the public radio show Poetry-In-The-Morning (WNYE-FM), sponsored by the Teachers & Writers Collaborative in New York City. New York Newsday published “Making Life a Matter of Meter” about The Inner Cities Arts Project and his original Contemplation Writing Program. The former school teacher and now author is currently a BAM! Street Journal Blogger on the BAM Radio Network, serving the greater education community. Go to to see his posts on reading and other timely education topics. Pflaum has done interviews on BlogTalkRadio Shows such as ‘Unplugged Mom’, ‘Journey to Center’, and ‘The Learning Curve’, with interviews coming up on ‘The Parent’s Plate’ and ‘The LearningRx’. His profile page is, and web site,, is a work-in-progress where listeners can soon find his education articles, curricula, and samples of student published poetry. He can be contacted at:
Find out more about reading, the imagination helping kids to have access to this way of healing through creativity in this week’s healing through creativity conversation You can also find out more about Dr. Desiree Cox on her website