The people who have chronic illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and more do not only suffer physically but emotionally and mentally. The thought of mortality and pain can be an emotional torture every day. It is essential that they develop a healthy mind to promote positivity and healing or at least to alleviate the pain.
Art therapy is a method used to promote mental health. Today, it is practiced in hospitals not only for patients with mental disorders but also for patients diagnosed with chronic illness. They, too, need a form of diversion to help them cope up with the physical and emotional stress.
The art mostly used for this kind of therapy is painting where patients are able to make use of colors and shapes to express their state of mind. Art therapy has a lot of benefits for a person’s well-being, healthy or not.
Benefits of Art Therapy to Patients with Chronic Illnesses
Relieves Emotional Stress
Art therapy relieves emotional stress. Chronically ill patients often feel hopeless, and no matter how they want things to be different, they just don’t have control over their situation. Cathy Malchiodi PhD, LPCC discusses that, “Art therapy provides the feeling of control. Individuals reported that art expression helped them focus on the present moment, identify emotional responses and experience connections between emotion and body awareness.” The patients get to choose how their masterpiece would look like: what color and what shape they want to use or however they want it to be.
Provides a tool for Self-expression
To find out that you have a chronic illness may be too overwhelming, and the feeling and emotion are all over the place. “The greatest benefit of art therapy is giving you a healthy outlet for expressing and letting go all your feelings and fears,” Mary Ann Cohen, MD points out. The patient might be lost for words, and this could be an alarming sign that he will have depression. At this stage, the patient needs all the support and help that he could get.
The doctor may recommend art therapy because it serves as a way of expressing emotions that are hard to show and explain.
Promotes a Positive Mind
When we look at a painting, we are able to appreciate the beauty of art, and it helps us relax our minds. “Creating art can take your mind off of whatever is stressing you, at least for a few minutes,” Elizabeth Scott, MS says. Art therapy gives the patient with chronic illness a sense of fulfillment, that he was able to do something wonderful despite a condition that causes limitations.
With all the pain and negative thoughts that the patient endures, art is a way to see the world full of colors and possibilities.
Art therapy gives hope and inspiration for patients with chronic illnesses. It gives them the will to get better and to continue what they do. They are able to appreciate their creativity which is good for their mental and emotional health. When we have a positive mind, the body is encouraged to act with more energy and enthusiasm thus promotes healing.
When we hear the word illness, we often think it only refers to our physical body, but our mental health also plays a vital role in our overall wellbeing. A person can have limitations physically but the mind makes endless possibilities for the day ahead.
People who are chronically ill create a masterpiece in every art because it is not just some painting but the message of pain, despair, hope, and positivity all at the same time.