Art therapy provides many benefits for a child during their hospital stay. Children in art therapy have opportunities for:
- building self-esteem and confidence
- processing thoughts and feelings through a trauma-informed approach
- reducing stress and anxiety
- socialization and family engagement
- normalizing the hospital environment
- regaining a sense of control
- developing coping skills pertaining to stress, trauma and loss
- providing distraction
- supporting pain management
A child’s art can help them tell stories and share feelings in a safe, self-contained outlet. Art therapy may help them feel more confident to express themselves, take risks, and experiment. Sometimes, art therapists even use medical supplies to help a child gain familiarity and comfort and make the hospital environment feel more normal.
Unlike traditional coloring or craft projects children do while in the hospital, art therapy supports the child’s self-exploration through the artmaking process. The finished art product is less important than the process the child experiences while they create. A child may not wish to display artwork produced during an art therapy session, and we support them in their choice. This is one important factor that differentiates art therapy from arts and crafts.
Children’s Mercy art therapists work collaboratively with many other teams throughout the hospital, including social work, child life, music therapy, and hospital-based school. We also coordinate with the child’s medical care team, including nurses, physical therapists, and occupational therapists as well. This team approach enriches the art therapy experience and wellness journey for each child and family we serve.
Art therapy is offered for children and families in all inpatient units at the hospital. We also provide resources and materials for self-care and bedside use for NICU families.
For more information about art therapy, please email us.