Art Therapy and Cancer Care
We all have our picture, right? The one that represents our experiences and understanding of the way our lives are. A landscape, perhaps. A sky, a horizon, maybe a few clouds here and there. The horizon line where it ought to be. Buildings, trees, sunshine, circumstances. The people who we find within the frame. The storms that come into view and pass, the ways we get through them. All mainly manageable. Not perfect but familiar, and generally expected and predictable.
Then, something happens that expands our frame abruptly— maybe adds 6 inches of unknown canvas to the right. Unfamiliar, even scary territory. We may have heard about such things happening— in books, on TV, to a friend or a friend's friend. But not to us. And now this new territory, this new part of our picture exists that challenges all our strengths, supports and resources with its uncertainties.
Cancer is a frame expander. However a cancer diagnosis has arrived in your life— be it your own, your loved one's, or your patient's— there is some major adjusting everyone must do to accommodate its presence. The more dreadful aspects of having cancer, such as testing, anticipation of results ("scanxiety"), sharing each new update with friends and family, feeling alienated from those who don't have cancer, getting treatment, even facing mortality— are more than enough to have you yearning for relief.
Participation in art therapy has been shown to reduce the stress, anxiety and depression that can weaken one physically and have a negative effect on treatment outcomes. Art therapy also helps to connect you the creative part of your self, aiding in the shift in perspective and consideration of possibility needed for wrestling with the most difficult aspects of having cancer. A therapeutic relationship may help you find ways to manage pain, talk to others about your diagnosis, and make sense of what is happening to your physical self. It can also aid you in nurturing your emotional self, your spirit, and maintaining your hope.
I invite you to a safe space for expression and processing of your experience with cancer. I am honored to collaborate with you as you design that space for yourself, and hold it for you as you make your way toward healing, surviving and thriving.