In recent surveys, both formal and informal, hospitals nationwide were screened for art therapy services. Though many hospitals stated that they offered art programming or art therapy services very few had more than an art cart that was managed by a volunteer. This brings us to a point that is both disappointing and yet invigorating. It is disappointing to know that art therapy has yet to fully breach the medical field as a viable profession, and yet invigorating to think of the potential!
For those few of us practicing art therapy in medical
settings, we see firsthand the benefits as well as the necessity of
creative expression in the sterile hospital locales and we bear witness to
incredulous healing journeys of our participants as they battle chronic
illness, disease, non-intentional trauma, intentional trauma, accident,
and sometimes the end of life.
Art therapy in medical settings
provides a structured forum in which patients and families can openly
express, and begin to work through, issues surrounding hospitalization or
medical crisis. It is through guided creative efforts that patients and
families explore concepts around the grieving process, life changes,
perceptions, and healing beyond the constructs
of language through such creative means as painting, collage, weaving, etc.
Art therapy provides stress relief, works to ameliorate depression,
explores and makes sense of hospitalization, affords patients a sense of
control in an otherwise overbearing and chaotic medical environment, and
allows for structured mess-making, as well as fun through manipulation of
Art therapy, in conjunction with medical treatment, and
as a part of an overall treatment plan, "may be one of the most viable
avenues through which patients can find true healing in their lives."
This website has been established in efforts to
consolidate empirical and evidence based research studies, create a
resource library, and ultimately strategize and share information as it
pertains to the professional development of art therapy in medical settings