Art Therapy at North London Hospice
CategoryNorth London Hospice|STAFF|VOLUNTEER
Art has long been recognised as a therapeutic activity. For a person living with a diagnosis of cancer or other life-limiting conditions, Art Therapy can be a valuable part of their treatment, offering psychological, emotional and physical benefits. Art Therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses art to explore issues that are of concern to each individual. To learn that you have a life threatening illness is a devastating experience and many people find themselves overwhelmed by the intensity of their emotions. They may feel unable or unwilling to burden those around them with their concerns and Art Therapy offers an opportunity to express these concerns within a safe and confidential environment. Through the use of art materials, thoughts and feelings that may be too intense or painful to put into words can find release. Art therapy can help people work towards psychological rehabilitation and a greater sense of well being. The Art therapy sessions at the Hospice are confidential and consent is given by patients to treatment. Patients can attend 1:1 Art therapy or be a part of a group, both of which are facilitated by Art therapist Karen Clements who has been working in North London Hospice since September 2012. Case study Kate was diagnosed with cancer in 2012 and she attended Art therapy in the hospice over a period of several months. Kate used a range of art materials to make a number of images and was able to talk with the therapist about the impact of her diagnosis and also explore in depth issues that arose as a direct result of the art-making. Kate was able to express her feelings of anger at past events and her loneliness and vulnerability in the present. Through making images and talking about these she was able to let go of specific things, to reach a place of acceptance of others and herself and to find inner peace. She found the process liberating and one which facilitated the lifting of guilt and a resolve to live her life to the full stating that ‘this is my time’. ‘It’s in the depth of uncovering that Art therapy benefits you providing you put in what you can. You’ve got to be willing to work at it. It has helped me lay a lot of things to rest. It has helped me to accept and let go. I am at peace with myself. Art therapy has brought everything together as a whole; body, mind and spirit… deep long ago issues came to the surface and could be explored, sorted and acceptably put away’.