This treatment modality is thought to promote wellness and optimize overall health. Art therapy should be used with, not in place of, standard cancer therapy.
What does art therapy involve?
Art therapy is based on the idea that a creative act is therapeutic and part of the healing process. Patients are given tools to paint, draw or sculpt and are encouraged to engage in a creative, expressive, independent art project.
How is art therapy thought to improve wellness and optimize overall health?
Proponents of this therapy believe that the uninhibited expression of feelings and emotions through art may help to release the fear, anxiety and anger many cancer patients experience. Art can also be viewed as a distraction to the pain and discomfort of disease, allowing patients relief from stress and increased well-being. By relieving stress, the body’s immune system and, therefore, resistance to disease may be heightened.
What has been proven about the benefit of art therapy?
There is little research available about the benefit of art therapy, but because of increasing patient interest, art therapy is frequently offered as a rehabilitation option through many medical centers. Some neurophysiologists report that art, prayer and healing are all associated with similar brain wave patterns and stem from the same body source. Art therapy's proponents believe that the creative energy stimulated by the project contributes to the healing process.
What is the potential risk or harm of art therapy?
There is little or no harm associated with this activity.
How much does art therapy cost?
Costs will vary depending on where this therapy takes place. Art therapists work in hospitals, out-patient facilities, clinics, private offices and art facilities. It is also easy to practice art therapy at home. Patients must purchase supplies, which can be found at any art supply store.
For additional information:
The American Association for Art Therapy
1202 Allanson Road
Mundelein, IL 60060-3808
Telephone: (888) 290-0878
Web site: www.arttherapy.org
Arts and Healing Network
3450 Sacramento Street
San Francisco, CA 94118
Fax: (415) 771-3696
Web site: www.artheals.org
Note: Information about therapies is intended to help you make informed choices, not to endorse any particular therapy. The information is courtesy of "Integrating Complementary and Alternative Therapies for Cancer Patients," a handbook written as an independent study project by Heather Morein. For more information, see the full text of the handbook (PDF), including all references and appendices.