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Arts Therapies

Amy Bucciarelli

The Arts Therapies include services provided by professionals specifically trained to facilitate Art Therapy, Dance/Movement Therapy, Music Therapy, and/or Drama Therapy

What are Arts Therapists trained to do?

Clinicians in these disciplines are knowledgeable about:

  • Human development
  • Psychological theories
  • Clinical practice
  • Research methodologies
  • Multicultural, spiritual & artistic traditions
  • The healing potential of the creative process

Clinicians are trained to assess the strengths and needs of patients through arts-based psychological assessments. According to their assessment findings, clinicians develop treatment plans and interventions that utilize a participatory, creative process to address therapeutic goals.

What should I expect if I participate in the Arts Therapies?

A treatment session can include creating, viewing, or interacting with a specific art form such as visual art, dance, or music. A clinician may spend anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour with a patient. Sessions can happen one-on-one with the therapist, at the bedside or in another private hospital space, in a group with other patients going through similar things, with members of your family, or with another member of the treatment team.

The Arts Therapies provide avenues for communication that are available when it is difficult or impossible to express those thoughts with words. The tools learned through the Arts Therapies can be transferred in practical ways to other areas of a patient’s life.

What are the goals of participating in Arts Therapies?

Some of the goals addressed by the Arts Therapies include:

  • Pain reduction
  • Treatment compliance
  • Adjustment to medical diagnosis
  • Coping with long-term illness
  • Stress management
  • Positive coping skills
  • Decreasing anxiety
  • Alleviating feelings like anger or sadness
  • Processing trauma
  • Changes in cognitive function
  • Building self-esteem
  • Facilitating self-expression
  • Changing lifestyle patterns

Research in the fields demonstrates that both the process and the product of therapeutic creativity are beneficial. Using the arts for expressive, creative, and reflective purposes can increase awareness of self and others to cope with physical and emotional symptoms.

Do I have to have experience and/or be talented in the creative arts to participate?

No! You do not need to have any previous experience or skill in the creative arts in order to participate in Art Therapy, Music Therapy, Dance/Movement Therapy, or Drama Therapy. The only thing you need to participate is an open mind and willingness to try something new.