There are many types of therapy options that are available to mesothelioma patients. Art therapy, in particular, may be beneficial to a patient.

Creative therapies may help patients with improving their mesothelioma prognosis. It may also help with an individual that is experiencing or recovering from treatment.

Art Therapy for Cancer Patients

So what exactly is art therapy?

Definition: Art therapy is a type of expressive therapy. It taps into a person’s creative process. This type of therapy is thought to help with improving an individual’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

Art therapy can play a very important role in a mesothelioma patient’s healing process. Research suggests that creative therapies like this can be very beneficial to the patients that participate in them.

6 Benefits of Art Therapy

  • Lessens depression
  • Decreases anxiety levels
  • Reduces pain
  • Improves quality of life
  • Helps patients to express themselves
  • Builds self-esteem
“It relieves worry and helps us get a focus of control,” a staff member from the Cancer Treatment Centers of America near Atlanta commented.

What Happens During Art Therapy?

Image of art suppliesIt doesn’t matter if you are an experienced artist or if you are just a beginner. Art therapy has one goal and that is to help a patient with their healing process.

During a session, a patient will get the opportunity to use many different art materials and tools. They will also get the opportunity to learn about art techniques.

For example, at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, patients may experience:
  • Watercolors
  • Pastels
  • Modeling clay
  • Origami
  • Charcoal pencils

A patient’s session shouldn’t reflect on the quality of the art that they create. Instead, it should help with capturing the story behind why they are creating it. And if they choose to, they can talk about it and share it with others.

In the great words of Pablo Picasso, “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

Watch what cancer patients participating in art therapy at Loyola University Medical Center have to say about their experience.

Art and Surviving Mesothelioma

Kendra Ferreira - mesothelioma survivor
Mesothelioma survivor Kendra Ferreira received a lot of support from the art community while she was combatting peritoneal mesothelioma. Continuing her passion for creating art helped contribute to improving her prognosis.

 

Advice from Kendra:

“Do things you enjoy.”

“…Go somewhere where you can forget you have cancer for a little while.”

You can read more about Kendra’s story here.

3 Cancer Art Project Ideas

Don’t worry if you cannot attend an art therapy session near you. Here are 3 activities that you can try in the comfort of your own home.

  • 1
    Create a Collage –include images of people, places, and things that inspire you. This will help you to reflect on the things that are important to you and that keep you fighting.
  • 2
    Map out Your Heart – by using pens, markers, crayons, or coloring pencils, print out a heart and color code it with things that are apart of your life. Each color will stand for something different. The more of a color that you use, the more of an impact or importance it has to you. You can print out a free heart to personalize here.
  • 3
    Draw Your Pain with Chalk – sometimes receiving a diagnosis of mesothelioma may alter your world. Write out things in chalk that bother you, bring you pain, or that you fear. Lastly, feel those burdens disappear as you wash them away with water.
So what are you waiting for? Give it a try.

Have you participated in art therapy or any other form of creative therapy before? We would love to hear from you. Please share with us your story in the comments below.

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Show Sources & Author

  1. What is Art Therapy?. arttherapyblog.com. Retrieved from: http://www.arttherapyblog.com/what-is-art-therapy/#.WfM06pOnGlM. Accessed: 10/27/2017.
  2. Creative arts therapy benefits cancer patients, research says. Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Retrieved from: http://www.cancercenter.com/discussions/blog/creative-arts-therapy-benefits-patients/. Accessed: 10/27/2017.
  3. Art Therapy & Workshops. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Retrieved from: https://www.mskcc.org/experience/patient-support/activities/art-therapy. Accessed: 10/27/2017.
  4. Creative Arts Beneficial to Cancer Patients. American Cancer Society. Retrieved from: https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/creative-arts-beneficial-to-cancer-patients.html. Accessed: 10/27/2017.
  5. 20 Art Therapy Activities You Can Try At Home To Destress. lifehack.org. Retrieved from: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/20-art-therapy-activities-you-can-try-home-destress.html. Accessed: 10/27/2017.

About the Writer, Nicole Godfrey

Nicole Godfrey is the Senior Content Writer for Mesothelioma Guide. She develops content to help educate and provide awareness about the most significant information about improving a mesothelioma patient’s prognosis.