Art Therapy for Recovery


If you’ve been through treatment and come out the other side, you may feel like you have a new lease on life. But, maybe some days you still feel weighed down by some of the very real emotions that come with having had a cancer diagnosis. Maybe you still feel overwhelmed or suffer from depression or maybe you still haven’t processed the fear that a life-threatening disease can stir up? Art therapy is something to consider for addressing and resolving these feelings. Art therapy is now frequently being used as an outlet for managing hidden emotions and expressing them in a subtle way. Studies show that creative acts influence brain wave patterns and chemicals released by the brain. This plays a big role in managing emotions and even produces positive physiological changes in the body. Creativity allows us to spend some time in a parasympathetic (relaxed, the opposite of “fight or flight”) state, which is the state we should be in for healing, rest and rejuvenation. As healthcare providers become increasingly aware of the mind, body connection for healing and prevention, resources are becoming available for patients and are being recommended more regularly even by conventional health professionals. Art therapists will work in groups or one on one and many hospitals are actually beginning to incorporate it into post treatment as well. Here are some resources below to help you learn more about art therapy and where to find an art therapy program.

what is art therapy?

sloan kettering

american cancer society

Phoenix area art therapist, Lanie Smith, MPS, ATR

Arizona program resources Scottsdale Healthcare

Cancer support community, formerly the wellness center-

paint brushes

paint brushes

Photograph Christopher Thomond for the Guardian