Children with chronic illnesses often undergo and endure many medical procedures and treatments, which can leave them feeling overwhelmed. Art therapy provides these children with a means of communicating through artistic expression.
Art therapy is based on the belief that the creative process involved in making art is healing and life-enhancing. Creating art and talking about art with an art therapist can enhance a child’s cognitive abilities, increase self awareness, help find ways to cope with symptoms of a medical/physical disorders, and gain relief from related emotional distress.
Art therapy is also intended to:
- Improve treatment outcomes
- Enhance patient quality of life and instill a sense of well-being
- Provide enjoyment and alleviation of anxiety surrounding treatments, symptoms,
- and social restrictions
- Engage in therapeutic exploration of potential fears and questions
- Provide the opportunity for children to identify feelings about illness, recovery, and circumstances in a supportive environment
- Increase resiliency
- Teach coping strategies necessary for dealing with the emotional effects of living with a chronic illness
Children who are enrolled in art therapy can expect to have fun and enjoy the opportunity to create beauty using various creative art supplies, such as paint, pencils, markers, paper, collage, and clay.
In addition, it is believed that art therapy sessions will help to promote communication and self expression, provide an opportunity for connection with others who are going through similar processes, enhance self esteem through mastery of materials and improved motor skills and provide joy in creating and experimenting with materials in a safe environment.
Art therapy is referred for intervention for a variety of reasons, including:
- Stress reduction
- Decrease somatic symptoms
- Risk for ineffective coping and/or adjustment to medical status
- Improve mobility, dexterity, decrease muscle atrophy
- Normalize medical/hospital experience
- Improve social/emotional adjustment
- Risk for ineffective communication patterns (patient and/or family)
- Risk for ineffective adjustment to social/emotional/physical environment
- Improve parent-child dynamic, communication and bonding
- Assess for further psychological/psychosocial intervention
- Enhance self-esteem
- Need for sibling psychosocial intervention
To find out more or enroll your child in the Art Therapy Program at our Children’s Hospital, contact Jennifer Crocitto, MA, ATR, BS-RN, by phone at 518-262-1970 (press 1 to leave a message).