What to Expect in Art Therapy

Hello. My name is Nicole Stiver and I’m the Art Therapist here at the Swedish Cancer Institute. In this podcast.


Hello. My name is Nicole Stiver and I’m the Art Therapist here at the Swedish Cancer Institute. In this podcast I will explain what art
therapy is and is not, the benefits of art therapy, what to expect during a typical visit, and
information for scheduling an appointment. First, however, I would like to start by
acknowledging a common reaction to art therapy. Many people are afraid to try making art. They think they’re not artistic or creative
enough. This is a normal reaction. Most people haven’t made art since
elementary school. I want to assure you that you do not need
art skills or confidence to try art therapy. Anyone can do art therapy. Art therapy is about the process of art
making rather than the project itself. Always remember there is no wrong way to
make art. Let’s talk more about what art therapy is
and is not. Art therapy is a healing modality
intended to bring together physical emotional and spiritual care by facilitating creative ways for patients
to respond to their cancer experience. Art therapy is not an instructional art
class. In other words, I don’t teach you how to make art. I will help you in becoming familiar
with different types of art media. I will encourage you to play and
experiment with art supplies. In art therapy I’m not here to judge or
interpret your artwork. I will invite you to view your art and find
your own meaning about what you’ve created. Remember, art therapy is therapy. It’s a time for you to use art to
explore the variety of issues that may come up with illness. Art making itself is therapeutic. It transcends words and triggers different
parts of the brain and subconcious. when you make art, you may find that you are
able to reach a new depth of understanding about yourself and
your experiences. People decide to use art therapy for
many different reasons. Art therapy provides outlets for
feelings. Art therapy is a wonderful way to learn
and practice positive coping skills. A recent study found that art therapy
reduced symptoms related to pain and anxiety in patients with cancer. Art therapy increases self-awareness and
self-discovery. When you make art you can explore and
examine thoughts or emotions that may be difficult to put into words. Many people find that art making decreases
stress and increases relaxation. I’ve heard some people say they’re
simply relieved to get their worries out of their head and onto paper where they can sort them
out or use art to transform them. During illness many parts of life may
feel out of control. Making art is one way to regain the
sense of control. Art therapy sessions are fifty minutes
in length and many patients come weekly. I see people who have just undiagnosed
or are in cancer treatment. I also see people who have completed
treatments and they’re looking for a place to process their experience and
rebuild their life after cancer. The visits are self-directed but when needed I will help you by
suggesting materials to use or a place to start. In my office you will find a large
variety of art supplies available, including colored pencils, pens and markers, chalk pastels, oil pastels, polymer clay
acrylic paint, water color paint beads, buttons, fabric, found objects, charcoal, collage images, and a variety of paper. In a typical session you can expect to
spend some time talking, some time making art, and some time
looking at what you have made. Thank you for listening to the Plugged
in to Your Health cancer podcast program. on What to Expect in Art Therapy. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if
you have questions about our art therapy services or if you would like to
schedule an appointment. My phone number is 206-215-6178 and my office
is located in the Cancer Education Center. Thank you.

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