A True Story: Art Therapy for Kids With Chronic Illness
Art is powerful. It can move people to tears, or smiles. It can influence people into action. It can build bridges and empathy across aisles. And art can heal.
Battling chronic illness is a challenge for anyone. But kids impacted by chronic illness also need to navigate just being a kid and all the challenges that come with growing up–our social circles, our physical changes, and our emotions. All of these can compound into distinct challenges when kids (or their siblings) are chronically ill.
And few experiences compare with that of a childhood cancer diagnosis. Like Nomi, a CoachArt student, who was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia in 2014.
Now 16, Nomi beat cancer thanks to a bone marrow transplant from her sister and was named “2017 San Francisco Girl of the Year” by the Greater Bay Area Chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Nomi is the poster child for turning lemons into lemonade, though she admits her journey was not an easy one. Nomi openly talks about the emotional and physical obstacles she faced as a result of her illness; through her toughest moments, art was an important part of that battle.
While battling her cancer diagnosis, Nomi found comfort and strength in art. Which aligns with St. Jude’s research findings that art therapy shows evidence to reduce anxiety, depression, and pain and improves quality of life for children diagnosed with cancer.
Nomi shares some tips on how to find an artistic and creative outlet and how it can help anyone, especially those impacted by chronic illness.
At CoachArt, we’re all about spreading the benefits of artistic endeavors and we wanted to share some other information we’ve found.
Resources: Art Therapy for Kids
Check out these resources that reinforce the therapeutic power of art.
Increasingly, healthcare professionals are researching, testing, and implementing the healing power of art. This article explores how the Children’s National Medical Center became an art gallery and displayed an exhibit of art named “Being Heard,” which featured emotional portraits and artwork created by children who were impacted by chronic illness.
This art therapy project reflects the medical journey of a sick child by creating a visual impression of his or her struggle. The artworks are expressed in poems and discussions with professionals who turned those experiences into art, showing their creative expression.
The Department of Nursing at USC understands the need to include t art therapy with other treatment options.
When we express feelings through art therapy, it has shown to offer stress relief, improved cognitive and motor functions reduced anxiety and depression, as well as enhanced independence, self-confidence, and self-expression.
The Healing Power of ART & ARTISTS (HPAA) is a community of artists, writers, and advocates that composed a vast resource for information on therapeutic arts programs. Featuring a large database of non-profit organizations, including CoachArt, around the globe dedicated to helping their communities through art. HPAA was founded by Renée Phillips, artists’ advocate & mentor, and also Founder, Director & Curator of Manhattan Arts International.
St. Jude’s details the benefits of art therapy for kids battling cancer. They’re extensive research is helpful to families of children, as well.