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Art Therapy

Art therapy uses fine art materials to help you express emotions, lower your stress and find strength.

Art therapy uses many different kinds of art: painting, drawing, colouring, photography, sculpting and others. 

Art therapy can help with some of the physical symptoms of cancer. It has also been shown to improve the quality of life for people with cancer. Making art can give you a positive distraction and a way to express your emotions.

Who can access art therapy?

Art therapy is available for people with cancer and their family members. You can access art therapy from the time you are diagnosed with cancer until 18 months after your active treatment ends.

You may benefit from art therapy if you:

  • Are looking for a new way of expressing yourself.
  • Want to find meaning during a difficult time.
  • Want to connect with other people in the group.

People with cancer who have young children can also make individual art therapy appointments.

If you have kids between the ages of about 3 and 16, you want to join the Family Art Therapy program.

If you are between the ages of about 20 and 40, you may want to join the Young Adults Group.

How do I sign up for an art therapy session?

We offer many virtual art therapy groups, held on Zoom.

Click on the "Groups" tab above for information and how to register. 

You can also visit our Support Programs page.  


BC Cancer has several art therapy groups. Some groups are offered online over Zoom and some are offered in-person at BC Cancer - Vancouver. Making art with a group gives you the same benefits as a one-on-one session with an art therapist. In a group, you also get to connect with other people.

All groups are for people with cancer and their family members. You can access art therapy from the time you are diagnosed with cancer until 18 months after your active treatment ends.

To register for an art therapy group, click on one of the Register links below. The calendar on our Support Programs page has more information on art therapy and other groups being offered. 

Spring Photography

Experience the beauty of Spring in a new way by learning some simple photography techniques in this online group.  No experience or camera required.


Nature & Art

Experience the benefits of nature and art therapy in this online group.  No experience in art is necessary to participate.


Art Therapy Workshops (in-person, Vancouver)

These workshops are an ideal way to discover your creativity and connect with others. Materials are provided and no experience is necessary.

Held in-person at BC Cancer - Vancouver.  The following workshops are currently scheduled:

Mandala Making: Wednesday, March 13, 1:00-3:00pm

Landscape Painting: Learn how to use acrylic paints to create a landscape, inspired by Emily Carr. Wednesday, April 3, 1:00 - 4:00pm

Neurographic Art: Experience a new artistic technique designed to relieve stress and problem solve. Wednesday, May 1, 10:00am - 12:00pm

Floral Art: Enjoy flowers in a new way in this creative workshop. Tuesday, June 4, 1:00- 3:00pm


Young Adults Group

A group for younger adults with cancer, who are about 20 to 40 years old. It meets the second Tuesday of the month on Zoom.

This group connects members with others who are the same age. We focus on topics specific to young adults with cancer.  We do some creative journaling and art exercises together.


Family Art Therapy Program

Support is available for families who have a parent living with cancer.  Therapy is targeted to families with kids who are about 3 – 16 years old.

This Spring, we will host workshops for families with school aged children on May 8 and May 21.  There will also be a workshop for families with children under 5 years old on April 10.  Both workshops will be at BC Cancer -  Vancouver.

We will host an online workshop for parents on Wednesday, April 24.

Individual and family art therapy sessions are also available by appointment.  These are offered in person at  Vancouver centre or online over Zoom.  Any family in B.C. can join.

To pre-register for one of these programs, please fill out our form.

picture of famliy support programs

Art & Music Studio Group

A time for creativity and self care.  We meet once per month over Zoom and participants are welcome to use their art materials of choice.


BC Cancer has several books available which have been designed with principles of art therapy:

Adult colouring books

Colouring can be very calming and relaxing.

Try the Hope colouring sheet or the Always Be Colouring book.

My Adventures with Fox and Owl: A Creative Journal for Kids with Cancer in the Family

This journal is for children aged 5-9.  The Fox and Owl character invite children to draw and write about themselves and their family. Other characters in the forest, lie Nurse Bunny, teach them about cancer.

Download sample pages from this journal (PDF).

Reaching Out to Your Children when Cancer Comes to Your Family: A Guide for Parents, by June Slakov
This is an informational book for parents (PDF) who are going through cancer treatments.  It includes resources for communicating with children of different ages about cancer, treatments, and coping with change as a family.

Scribble and Paste: A Creative Journal for if Cancer Comes to Your Family

This creative journal (PDF) is for children 10 years and older. It teaches children about cancer and ways of coping when cancer comes to their family.  This book can help children discover more about themselves and support them in a difficult time.

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