Medical Art Therapy for Children

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Medical Art Therapy in Children:
Does it help improve the health of an ill child?

The study I would like to research is the affects of medical art therapy in young patients with illnesses. Medical art therapy is the use of art therapy as a treatment for children who want to communicate wishes and perceptions regarding their sickness. Medical art therapy can help patients with illnesses such as kidney disease, severe burns, and mostly cancers. Children become masters of their art making which helps rebuild their sense of hope, self-esteem, independence, and competence while expressing their emotions through their artwork. My purpose of conducting this research experiment is to determine whether art therapy has a positive affect on sick children.

In Tracy Councill’s article Medical art therapy with children, Councill states that the hospital itself can bring about stress to the ill child and their family. The hospital can also provide hope for the family, although for the child, the hospital may just be foreign territory. The child with the illness is suddenly surrounded by the images, smells, and everyday life in the hospital, and can feel extremely uncomfortable being there. A visit from the art therapist, an adult who brings fun art materials instead of needles or medicine, can provide comfort to a scared child. Whether that first art therapy session leads to an extravagant piece of art or just a simple drawing, it can be extremely meaningful to the sick child and help the child make positive correlations to their hospital experience. Carol H. Delue conducted a study to see if drawing mandalas can reduce stress and induce relaxation in children. To study these effects, Delue measured a group of school age children’s skin temperatures and heart rates after partaking in drawing mandalas for fifteen minutes. The results showed that the heart rate of the children who had drawn mandalas had significantly reduced by seven beats per minute....
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