It has been proven that art therapy is effective in treating a variety of physical and mental problems. Patients diagnosed with terminal illnesses, who have mental disorders or disabilities, or who are very stressed and suffer from anxiety can all benefit from art therapy. It is a wonderful way to express yourself and also relax.
For children with cancer, there are many ways of using art therapy. Now, we aren’t therapists ourselves, but we have observed and did some research. These are some ways that we think art therapy can be used to help children with cancer.
- Painting feelings and fears – Children are often incapable of explaining how they feel because they don’t yet have the words or the understanding to explain it. Older children may just struggle to say what they feel because they are afraid. Asking them to paint or draw what they feel is a creative way to let them express those feelings with complete freedom.
- Dance how you feel – Free dancing can also help them express how they feel and you will most likely get a very clear idea in the way they move and even the music they choose. They may have free flowing movements or very short and hard movements. Trained therapists will be able to better interpret these things and get an understanding of what the child is feeling.
- Playing instruments – This works in the same way as dancing. An angry child may bang drums or play really loudly and with aggression. A calm or scared child may play very softly. The choice of instrument may also be indicative of what the child is thinking and feeling.
- Relaxation – Art has a calming effect and can help your child relax. So, all the above points have this effect as an added bonus. Art can be used for the express purpose of making the person relax. This can be done in different ways guided by a trained therapist. This is also the reason why adult coloring has become so popular.
- Movement – Movement through dancing can help with physical therapy, muscle development, exercise, and relaxing the body. Exercise is good for the body, even the body of your sick child. Dancing or any type of physical movement guided by a therapist or during free form can help your child feel better. The body requires movement and the muscles need to be used. Dancing in itself has many emotional and mental benefits and will inevitably have a positive effect on your child.
Art therapy is efficient and successful for almost anyone. From children with cancer to adults who just need to relax, it can help. We here at Children Cancer Fund are big fans of art therapy. You can read some more articles on art therapy here and here.