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Art Therapy

Art therapy is a form of emotional support that uses fine art materials and activities to help people express themselves, find strength and promote relaxation.
Art therapy can decrease stress and some of the physical symptoms of cancer, and has been shown to increase the quality of life for people with cancer. Making art can provide a positive distraction and an outlet for strong emotions.

Click on the "Groups" and "Resources" tabs for more information about art-based programs and resources.

Who can access art therapy?

Art therapy is available during group sessions for cancer patients,  family members and other support people. Different groups are available at the different centres or available through distance programs. 

How to access? 
For more information, click on the "Groups" tab to see what programs are available. You can also inquire by reaching the Art Therapist by email.

Due to COVID-19, art groups are being held using Zoom for Health care. If you are interested in attending a virtual group, please register using the links below or contact Sara Hankinson, Art Therapist by email.

BC Cancer hosts several different groups which use art therapy techniques. Making art within a group provides the same benefits of individual art therapy, with the added benefit of providing another form of connection between group members. Below are the programs offered. They are currently offered virtually to patients and family members throughout B.C. Participants can join online or by phone.  

Family Art Therapy

Support is available for young families who have a parent living with cancer.  Individual, family, and group art therapy sessions can be hosted virtually by appointment.  Sessions are available for children ages two and up (with parental support).  To book an appointment, contact the art therapist by email.

Finding Your Voice - Music and Art Therapy Group

A group for patients and caregivers interested in exploring music and art therapy techniques.  During this four week program, participants will use music and art mediums to help find their voice, and explore expression through the creative arts. 

Email the art therapist for more information. 

Mindfulness-based Art Therapy

Mindfulness-based Art Therapy combines principles of mindfulness and relaxation techniques with art exercises.  It has been proven to promote relaxation and stress reduction.  Interested patients and caregivers can learn and try the basics in this four week program.  Registration is required.

Email the art therapist for more information. 

Photographing the Fall

Learn the basics of mindful photography and get to know others in the group as you photograph your way through October! This group is open to patients and caregivers.  You will also need a camera or a phone camera. 

Email the art therapist for more information. 

Virtual Knitting Club

Hosted by the BC Cancer library, knitters of all skills levels can join a supportive circle to learn the basics of knitting, improve and learn new skills, work on projects, and socialize with other participants. We encourage people to purchase their own yarn and needles, but basic materials can be mailed out as needed. 

This group will meet virtually on Zoom every other Thursday from 2:30-4:30pm starting October 1st, 2020. 

To register, contact Anne Rilkoff.

Wrapping up the Year

What a year 2020 has been!  This group will focus on reflecting creatively on the passing year, and creating a symbol of hope and peace for the new year. 

This group will meet on Tuesdays 1:00-2:30pm from 
December 1 to 15, 2020. Email the art therapist for more information. 

Young Adults Group
A group for younger adults, aged 19-40ish. This group generally takes place two Wednesday afternoons per month. It incorporates art therapy techniques and focuses on topics specific to young adults. The group is currently being offered via Zoom. Email the art therapist for more information. 

Art Therapy 101
Participants will learn more about the benefits of art therapy and try a few different art therapy exercies. Email the art therapist for more information. 

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

Adult coloring books
Recently, adult coloring books have become popular as coloring has been found to be very meditative. For more information or to download a coloring sheet or mini-coloring book, see our Managing Stress Toolbox.

My Adventures with Fox and Owl: A Creative Journal for Kids with Cancer in the Family
In this journal (for children aged 5-9) the characters of Fox and Owl were created to be companions for children reading the book.  They invite children to draw and write about themselves and their family, and introduce readers to other characters in the forest, including Nurse Bunny, who teaches them about cancer.
Download sample pages from this booklet.

Reaching Out to Your Children when Cancer Comes to Your Family: A Guide for Parents, by June Slakov
This book includes information and resources for parents about communicating with children of different ages about cancer, treatments, and coping with change as a family.  Download a copy.

Scribble and Paste: A Creative Journal for if Cancer Comes to Your Family
This journal (for children aged 10+) invites readers to draw and collage in, expressing thoughts around family, cancer, and finding strengths and support when a family member has cancer. Download a copy

For more information about any of these resources, please contact the Art Therapist by email or call 604-877-6000 ext. 672184.
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