Cancer Art Therapy

Expressive Arts for Healing

Art Therapy ExamplesArt therapy involves using the creative process of art making to improve and enhance the physical, mental and emotional well-being of individuals of all ages. It’s based on the belief that the creative process involved in artistic self-expression helps people to resolve conflicts and problems, develop interpersonal skills, manage behavior, reduce stress, increase self-esteem and self-awareness and achieve insight (American Art Therapy Association).

Engaging the body in creativity quiets the mind and allows the soul to cleanse, heal and shine. It also can be useful in understanding emotions that are hard to express in words.

Artwork is a reflection of the creator and can provide insight and meaning when experienced in a therapeutic setting. Art therapy is a valuable therapy for both trained artists and those with no identified artistic experience.

Benefits of Participating in Art Therapy

  • Symbolic communication: participating in the art therapy process helps you make connections that lead to self-understanding.
  • Relaxation/meditation: art therapy interventions offer immediate relief in the forms of pain reduction, alleviation of stress/anxiety, distraction and boredom relief.
  • Art as a healing agent: transformative art processes help to reframe and open the psyche to the healing process. It can be helpful in searching for meaning.
  • Treating the whole person
    • Body—of immediate importance
    • Mind—working with intrusive thoughts
    • Spirit—finding value in experience

A credentialed art therapist can guide you through the art experience providing you with the opportunity to engage creative resources, communicate visually and address the stresses of illness.

Who is the Art Therapist?

An art therapist is a master's level professional who holds a degree in art therapy or a related field. His or her education includes: theories of art therapy, counseling and psychotherapy; ethics and standards of practice; assessment and evaluation; individual, group and family techniques; human and creative development; multicultural issues; research methods; and practicum experiences in clinical, community and/or other settings. Art therapists are skilled in applying a variety of art modalities (drawing, painting, sculpture and other media) for assessment and treatment.

Art therapists at Aurora are registered, board-certified and licensed by the state of Wisconsin:

  • Jill Wargolet MS, ATRL-BC, LPC
  • Hilary Chermak MS, ATR

Art therapy interns available through the Expressive Arts Program are graduate students enrolled in accredited art therapy programs and are supervised by licensed professionals and academic instructors.

How Can I Access Expressive Arts for Healing Services?

  • Open art studios are held bi-monthly at Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center and Aurora Sinai Medical Center
  • Inpatient services are available at Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center
  • Outpatient services are available at Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center, Aurora Sinai Medical Center, and Aurora St. Luke's South Shore
  • Staff support services are available upon request

How to Learn More?

Contact Sharon Hempel at 414-649-7200 for times and locations or to inquire about services, find locations and times of ongoing support groups and open studios.

  • Request personal services for hospital visits
  • Schedule a workshop or presentation with an art therapist
  • Hold an expressive arts group at your location through coordination with our services.

Visit the National Arts Program Web site.