Art therapy helps cancer patients deal with emotional and physical problems by expressing their feelings with creative activities. People who are having difficulty dealing with emotional turmoil can boost their own self-awareness and express concerns that they feel about the disease and their lives, notes the American Cancer Society.
The philosophical basis for art therapy is that creative activities can provide healing. Art therapists believe that these activities help people release hidden feelings while alleviating their anxiety, fear and stress, ultimately providing a feeling of freedom. Some art therapists believe that the creative act alters brain wave patterns as well as the chemicals that the brain releases, as stated by the American Cancer Society.
Bone marrow transplant recipients, people suffering from eating disorders, disabled people, chronically ill people, chemical addicts and caregivers for cancer patients have benefited from art therapy. Art therapy can also be used to distract and engage people who are undergoing significant pain as a result of a treatment or illness, according to the American Cancer Society.
Art therapy gives patients tools to make drawings, paintings, sculptures and art in other media. Art therapists can work individually or in group sessions, but in either case, the purpose is to help individual patients use their artwork to express themselves and talk through their feelings and concerns as they connect to the artwork, states the American Cancer Society.