The Art Therapy program uses art materials to draw verbal and non-verbal communication from kids as they go through treatment for cancer. During these psychotherapeutic sessions, the art therapist encourages free expression in a comfortable environment. By listening to the patient and observing their decisions the art therapist can better identify negative situations impacting the child during treatment and encourage positive behaviors to help the individual express his/her feelings in a healthy way. Something as simple as choosing to paint with the color blue can have a profound impact on a child who feels as if their life is spiraling out of control.
As they grow more confident with their skills, they find that more of what they are trying to cope with ends up on the canvas. It has been an extremely effective way to deal with everything such as physical pain, social distress or the severity of their situation.
In recent months Friends of Kids with Cancer has expanded their art therapy program to fund one art therapist at each of the three hospitals: St. Louis Children’s Hospital, Mercy Children’s Hospital, SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital.