Grateful

Every November at Georgetown we gather in the hospital chapel for an interfaith “Service of Remembrance,” a time to remember the children who have died in our care. Though most  kids with cancer will be cured and go on to do very well, our treatments are not always successful, but all the kids we work with mean a lot to us.Heart pot

At the service we read words of comfort from  many traditions, sing , and light a candle in honor of each child whose family attends. At the reception after the service this year I was talking with the father of a very dear little girl who had died about a month before. I had worked with the patient and her siblings for all the years of her treatment. They are such creative characters–and their work in art therapy helped them express the ups and downs of treatment and get the support they needed along the way.

The patient’s dad asked me what I thought of the service.  I said I thought it was very nice, and asked what he thought. “Grateful,” he replied. “The whole afternoon just made me feel grateful.” This Thanksgiving eve, as I prepare to join family and friends, I am grateful for all the young people and families I work with every day and the many ways they challenge my imagination and enrich my life.

A great resource for moms of our littlest kids

The mom of one of our patients sent me this link. It’s about a great idea that a little cancer patient’s mom came up with–a little tube-top with a pocket to protect her daughter’s medication cathether tubes. Many of our kids have “tubeys” so they can get intravenous medication without a needle stick, but they have to be careful not to pull the tubes or get them dirty. We do a lot of play with the little ones, putting pretend “tubeys” in dolls or teddy bears and letting the kids practice administering “medication,” cleaning, and generally getting more comfortable with the tubes. You can read the article below from Seattle Children’s hospital about one solution to help our littlest kids cope with their “tubeys.”

http://pulse.seattlechildrens.org/one-mothers-creation-provides-a-valuable-tool-for-tiny-cancer-patients/

I have also included a page depicting a medication catheter from our comic book for kids with cancer, “Kids vs. Cancer,” by Tracy Councill and Linda Kim and published in 2011 by Georgetown University Hospital’s Child Life Department with a grant from the Bear Necessities Foundation.

Tubey page from "Kids vs. Cancer" by Tracy Councill and Linda Kim

Tubey page from “Kids vs. Cancer” by Tracy Councill and Linda Kim

Grand Rounds, April 19

 I will be speaking at Georgetown University Hospital’s Grand Rounds on Friday, April 19 at 8:00 a.m. Grand Rounds is a lecture series provided for the whole medical community, and it is a real privilege to be invited to present. I will give a short history of how Tracy’s Kids got started at Georgetown over 20 years ago, and then talk about the theory and practice of the approach that grew into Tracy’s Kids.  Everyone is welcome, so please come if you can!

DEPARTMENT of PEDIATRICS

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital

 GRAND ROUNDS

 April 19, 8:00 a.m.

Lombardi Cancer Center Research Auditorium

Art Therapy in Pediatric Medicine

by Tracy Councill, MA, ATR-BC

Tracy headshot

In 1991, with a grant from the Prevent Cancer Foundation, Tracy Councill started the Art Therapy Program in Pediatric Hematology-Oncology at Georgetown University Hospital’s Lombardi Cancer Center. Medstar Georgetown University Hospital’s core value of “cura personalis” allowed this unique program to grow and flourish, eventually becoming Tracy’s Kids, www.tracyskids.org, a non-profit that serves thousands of young people and their families here at Georgetown and in other centers.

Ms. Councill will provide a short history of the Art Therapy Program, and discuss the theory and practice of art therapy in medicine, emphasizing the role of art therapy in supporting normalization, resilience and coping in patients with chronic life-threatening illnesses.

Ms. Councill’s professional awards include: the Potomac Art Therapy Association Professional Development Award, 2008; the American Art Therapy Association Clinician Award, Children, 2004; the Holly Award for Excellence in Patient Care, 2003, Lombardi Cancer Center; the Lombardi Cancer Center Award, October, 2001; and the Individual award for Excellence in Professional Practice, 2000, Georgetown University Hospital.

Accreditation Statement: The Georgetown University Hospital is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. Designation Statement: The Georgetown University Hospital designates this educational activity for a maximum of 1AMA PRA Category Credit(s)™. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent to their participation in the activity. For more information on our Department, including educational opportunities, please visit us at:

www.georgetownpeds.org

3800 Reservoir Road, NW, Washington, DC 20007

 

Art Therapy on the BBC!

We were delighted to be part of a story by the BBC about the field of art therapy. The story tries to get at how and why art therapy works. It features interviews with art therapists Donna Betts and Heidi Bardot, as well as students from GWU’s Art Therapy program and some great footage of our own Kate Martin working with some of our wonderful kids.

Here’s the link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21579762

 BBC News Magazine
IN ASSOCIATION WITH

Click here to find out more!

The Power of Art: Can creativity cure the sick?

 25 February 2013 Last updated at 21:03 ET
Can unleashing inner creativity heal the sick?

Nine-year-old leukaemia patient Ryan is in no doubt. “It makes you feel like you can do anything really,” he says of the art therapy classes he enjoys, thanks to a US charity.

The American military has also long embraced art therapy, using it as a core treatment to help veterans recover from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Now top brass are leading research to find out why this kind of treatment works.

As Jane O’Brien reports in the second part of our Power of Art series, mounting clinical evidence of art’s medical benefits could bring new and exciting ways to harness its power.