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14. Art Therapy

What is art therapy?

Art therapy began in both England and America in the 1940s. It is now an established profession in many countries, with a recognised place in the process of healing. As part of the art therapy process, art materials (for example paints, clay and batik) are used to express your thoughts and feelings without words.

A trained art therapist guides you in exploring the images you produce, helping you become aware of things you may not have realised or recognised.

You can have art therapy on your own or in a group. Some people find drawing helpful even if they don’t always share their work with an art therapist

.Do you have to be able to draw in the first place?

No, definitely not! Art therapy isn’t about creating works of art: it’s about using paper and paints or crayons to express yourself without having to find words.

Is art therapy useful for people who have breast cancer?

Yes, it can be useful, because it can help you to gain a greater understanding of yourself and of your cancer and treatment, as well as helping you to express your feelings.

How many art therapy sessions would I need?

That depends on you and your art therapist. Some people start to use art therapy when they are diagnosed with cancer and continue to use it throughout their treatment and beyond.

Others may be introduced to it for the first time when they are terminally ill and may find it helps them to face dying.

Are art therapists specially trained?

Yes, there are training courses which people do in order to practice as art therapists. There are various approaches used in art therapy and the training differs for each of these.

All of them will include some training in one or more psychological techniques so that you and your therapist can interpret your paintings or other images.

Can I get art therapy on the NHS?

Art therapy is sometimes available in cancer treatment centers and hospices; otherwise, it is a private treatment.




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