Art therapy and health

Mal | Art Journal,Art Therapy | Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

My art journal when I was in the hospital.

I don’t know how many of you are interested in formalized art therapy (I am — but as an art therapist who works in healthcare I’m slightly biased). There is a recent article making news today that talks about art therapy with breast cancer patients. If you’re interested, you can read either the full article, or a quick news summary of it.

Between this and the researchers’ other articles, their evidence seems to indicate that breast cancer patients who engage in art therapy show:

  • Improved psychological health
  • Decreased side effects of radiation treatments
  • Higher overall quality of life
  • Increased physical health
  • Improved coping skills
  • A “better ability to deal with others’ demands”
  • More positive self-image

Why is this important, if you are not an art therapist, an art therapy client, or a breast cancer patient? I guess I wanted to share it with you on the hope that you’ll feel some deeper meaning in the art that you make every day.

Maybe you are making art to sell — to put food on the table or supplement your family’s income. Maybe you make art because you’re bored in meetings with nothing to do but doodle. Maybe you make art as gifts for loved ones, decorations for your home, or to explore the outside world. Maybe it is simply your hobby — your pastime. But, maybe it could be much, much more?

Whatever art you make, I hope you make space for it to have a deeper impact on your life.

Please share: How has making art impacted your life?

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