Art as Healing: Los Angeles Hospitals Integrate Art Therapy to Improve Patient Wellbeing


Art helps a person in self-knowledge and self-realization, and in addition, it can heal. The method of treatment using art is called art therapy. This technique refers to very ancient forms of correction of emotional states.

Healing through Art appeared almost simultaneously with art itself. All peoples of the world used singing, mystical rituals, music, dancing, drawing and literary activities to heal illnesses. In the creative process, all hidden and unconscious feelings and emotions are revealed. Thus, through artistic images the unconscious interacts with consciousness.

Art therapy helps a person adapt to changes in his life, relieve emotional stress, and understand his feelings and thoughts. Creative expression therapy, of course, did not arise out of nowhere. It has deep scientific roots and has absorbed all the best achievements that have been accumulated in the psychotherapeutic field:

  • psychoanalysis of S. Freud;
  • individual psychology of A. Adler;
  • transactional analysis by E. Berne;
  • Gestalt therapy by F. Perls;
  • symboldrama by H. Lerner.

Art has true healing powers. The term Art Therapy was coined by British impressionist Adrian Hill. The term first appeared in his book Art Against Disease, which was published in 1945. In his book, Adrian Hill told how he, a patient with tuberculosis, overcame a terrible disease by drawing pictures. Then the doctors of this clinic invited the artist to help other patients recover from the disease with the help of painting.

Art therapy helps to express your imagination and talents, overcome complexes, better understand yourself, increase your self-esteem, and get rid of chronic fatigue.

In art therapy, the main thing is spontaneity. Think about your question, start drawing, sculpting, or doing some crafts. Pay attention to what words and images pop up in your subconscious. When you finish your work, analyze them.

When looking through the works of artists, you choose one or another painting based on your emotional state at the moment. Every person, looking at paintings by artists, unknowingly frees himself from something or fills himself with positivity.

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Expressive Arts Therapies in Los Angeles Hospitals

At Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, art therapy is a major focus. Here, bandages, medications and compassionate doctors are not the only things patients rely on to recover. This is one of the Los Angeles Hospitals that also uses paint, markers, musical instruments and movement to heal the children. Doctors rely on art, dance, drama, music and expressive art therapy for patient wellbeing.

Through art and music, doctors help children relieve anxiety, provide psychological support and offer creative opportunities for self-expression.

Traditional healing arts programs can be found in many Los Angeles hospitals. But the program at this clinic is an innovative model that pairs local artists, performers and teachers with registered and certified expressive arts therapists to meet the diverse needs of patients.

This interdisciplinary approach offers patients more than just fun arts and crafts projects. Young participants in the program develop a lifelong love of art.

At this Los Angeles clinic, expressive arts therapists are an integrated part of the treatment team. Any physician can order art, music or dance movement therapy for a patient with the click of a button in their electronic health record.


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