At the Montreal Children’s Hospital, art therapists use the creative process of art-making to improve the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of individuals. It involves giving patients art material and quiet time to express what they may not be able to speak about–fear, isolation, anger and loss.
In art therapy, young patients and their families learn to cope with the emotional stress and trauma associated with their disease and its treatment. The artwork tells stories, and expresses deep feelings. During art therapy sessions, children and adolescents gain a sense of control over their lives during a time when everything seems to be spinning out of control.
Art Therapy begins while the children are hospitalized, and can continue when patients return to school and follow them into recovery, helping them to understand the unique challenges they may face as they grow beyond their hospital experience.
In addition to working directly with the children, the art therapist serves as a member of the treatment team, meeting regularly with health care providers to help them understand patients’ needs and to learn about the treatment plan so they can help patients understand as well.