Painting Brothers

One of the most fun things we see at the clinic is young children just beginning to explore art. The other day a young patient and his little brother came to the clinic and took over both sides of the double easel. They were excited to try out different color combinations– naming each new color they had made.Painting Little Brother

This is the part of art therapy that intersects with art education–kids need to play around with color and paint to help them understand visual language. But at the cancer clinic there’s another layer of meaning–kids who come here have to deal with lots of scary and stressful stuff–but working in the open studio adds a therapeutic balance. Happy, normal immersion in the creative process makes cancer treatment less scary, and the trust we build with the kids through that process lets us help the kids through lots of hard times. When they’ve had a hard day or they’re worried about something, paint and play-doh embody their sadness and fear and the art therapists receive it. It’s  a gentle, normalizing, fluid process, moving from education to self-expression to catharsis according to the clients’ needs–and it’s all art therapy.