Art Therapy

When I tell people I am an art therapist for children with cancer, they often say “Oh my, that must be so sad!” But it isn’t. If you sit down at the art table in any of the Tracy’s Kids programs you will see a lot of laughter—and a lot of concentration. It’s fun to create, and creating can be fun even if you’re also getting chemo at the same time.

Think about the last time you were lost in whatever you were doing—cooking dinner, taking a walk, listening to music—your were busy, your imagination was rolling and time flew by. You were experiencing “flow,” an important ingredient in the creative process, and a big part of the healing power of art.

One of the benefits of art therapy is the opportunity to get in that groove. Cancer treatment takes a long time—in between the shock of the diagnosis and the first checkup when the doctor says you’re cancer free there are weeks, months, sometimes years, of chemo, scans, blood tests and all kinds of supportive care. Bringing art therapy to the infusion center makes waiting time productive. Play, creation, connection, self-expression, and relaxation cultivate a sense of community and excitement in our clinics.

We will be sharing vignettes from all five Tracy’s Kids programs on our blog—art ideas, great stories, glimpses of the fun and creativity the Tracy’s Kids art therapists witness every day.

For more on the concept of “flow,” see the website http://winmentalhealth.com/arts_therapy.php. There is an excellent article on the work of psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, who studies creativity, art therapy and flow.

Tomorrow, the story of the Chinese Dragon. . .

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