Story Starter: Creative Expression Helps Cancer Patients Cope during Treatment and Recovery

A recent meta-analysis published online in JAMA Internal Medicine found that cancer patients who participated in creative arts therapy derived significant clinical, psychological, and quality-of-life benefits.

Memorial Sloan Kettering offers a number of activities that encourage relaxation through creative expression, which can often help people with cancer as well as their caregivers, families, and friends cope with the treatment and recovery process.

Art therapy refers to the integration of artistic expression into the healing process. Patients who participate in Memorial Sloan Kettering's art therapy program can work with a trained therapist in a safe, private, and relaxing environment to find ways to express their experiences through art, including drawing, painting, and other media. Art therapist Sarah D'Agostino, LCAT, is available to discuss the benefits of art therapy, which can be emotionally restorative, lessen stress, and serve as an outlet for expressing feelings about illness, treatment, and life in general that may be difficult to verbalize.

Music therapy uses the power of sound to encourage healing and promote a sense of well-being. Under the guidance of professionally trained music therapists, Memorial Sloan Kettering's Integrative Medicine Service provides inpatients, outpatients, and their caregivers various opportunities to benefit from this mind-body therapy. Our therapists are skilled at recognizing and addressing the psychological and emotional challenges that patients and family members may be facing. Music therapist Karen Popkin, MCAT, HPMT, MT-BC, is available to discuss the benefits of music therapy, which can help increase feelings of relaxation, ease fear, anxiety, and depression, and minimize perception of pain.

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