Art Therapy at UH Seidman Cancer Center

Providing Patients with Coping Skills and Self-Expression Through Art

Art therapy helps individuals cope with complex health-related issues, lifestyle transition, grief, expression and communication and more. It is a strength-based approach, meaning that emphasis is placed on a person’s strengths and abilities rather than illness and limitations.

Art therapy focuses on improving or restoring a client’s functioning and their sense of personal well-being through art making and the creative process. Using art for self-expression and reflection can assist patients in coping with the stressors of illness and hospitalization. The art therapists at University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center provide patients with guidance, support and materials to create meaningful art. Art therapy interventions are based on the needs identified by an individual or group in collaboration with the therapist.

History of the Art Therapy Program at University Hospitals

The Adult Art Therapy Department at University Hospitals was founded in 1989 by Sandra White, an art therapist. The art therapy program was originally housed under the Department of Rehabilitation Services and could be found alongside the work of occupational therapists and physical therapists.

Later, as the numerous benefits of art therapy were realized by patients, staff and management, other departments began to add this service to their treatment teams. University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, University Hospitals Psychiatry Department, and adult medical units all incorporated art therapy into their regular services and treatments.

Over time, organizational and management strategies changed within the hospital. Art therapy services were also shifted. Existing art therapists were eventually moved to University Hospitals Intensive Outpatient Program in Psychiatry and UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Child and Family Services. Art therapy services provided to the adult medical population and eventually merged with The Music Therapy Department at University Hospitals, under the supervision of Deforia Lane, PhD, MT-BC.

Since then, the Art & Music Therapy Department has grown and now includes two full-time art therapists to assist patients with needs. Programming and treatment options continue to expand as the department expands its reach.

Goals of Art Therapy

Common goals of medical art therapy include:

  • Decrease pain
  • Decrease fatigue
  • Decrease depression
  • Decrease anxiety
  • Increase well-being
  • Increase relaxation
  • Develop effective coping skills
  • Explore personal identity issues related to diagnosis
  • Explore meaning-making and lasting legacy

Art Therapy Resources

Additional information about art therapy can be found at:

Contact Us

For more information, please contact one of our art therapists via email:

To Learn More

Art therapy at UH Seidman Cancer Center is provided without cost to patients or their insurance. For more information, contact us at 216-844-1211

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