Art Therapy Studio Chicago, Ltd.
This month's blog is written by Anna Celander, art therapist and office manager at ATSC. She has been providing a cancer support group in Northbrook and took some time to share some of her experiences with us here.
Recently, I have been reminded that while art therapy is my profession, working with those afflicted with cancer is my specific purpose. Art Therapy Studio Chicago, LTD. was approached a few months ago with a request to host an art therapy workshop at the Cancer Wellness Center in Northbrook, IL. With the support of our founder, Mary Andrus, I volunteered to take the lead in organizing a six-month series that empowers clients to identify and express themselves in a therapeutic way. With guidance from the art therapist, participants explore ways to visually represent their individual cancer experience using traditional and non-traditional art materials. No prior art making experience is necessary.
I have led three groups and will be hosting a fourth Saturday, October 17. While I am there to facilitate, it is the participants who truly make the group the success it has become. Individuals guide the conversation and support each other in their art making, as well as their cancer diagnoses. The compassion and energy that the group generates is felt long after we leave the makeshift studio space.
The Cancer Wellness Center has provided the professional support and supplies to integrate art therapy into their palliative care approach to cancer treatment, and it is proving to be successful. As one participant wrote in her evaluation of the workshop, “It was an incredible experience! Emotions and feelings I didn’t know I had bottled up came through.”
In this month’s group we will be creating body maps. Emotion and experience embeds itself into our body musculature. Using art materials, clients will articulate their own physical ailments, as well as emotional stressors, that are carried in their body and mind daily.
For more information on the art therapy support group or other services offered at the Cancer Wellness Center, visit www.cancerwellness.org/cancer-wellness-center-northbrook/
For interest in individual art therapy or group art therapy related to a cancer diagnosis, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org. Sessions also offered for caregivers, family members, friends, etc. depending on interest.
Dr. Mary Andrus DAT, ATR-BC, LCPC