Individuals with a palliative diagnosis frequently experience feelings of anxiety, depression, aloneness and physical pain as their conditions progress. For family members and carers, consequent bereavement can be a profound experience, associated with deep grief, anger, and depression. Art therapy has been found to respond to the unique needs of these individuals, promoting well-being, interpersonal connection and quality of life, alleviating pain, and providing opportunities for ongoing personal growth.
Little Haven employs the services of a qualified art therapist, Cathy Strajnar to facilitate individual and group therapy one day per week (Mondays) within the center. Art therapy is offered to:
- individuals who have received a palliative diagnosis,
- family members/carers of palliative clients attending the centre, and
- bereaved family members of previous palliative clients. The therapists’ day will be structured to include 3 individual sessions and one group session. Referral will occur via the organisation’s bereavement counselor and social workers.
Art therapy (AT) is a therapeutic process which uses the medium of art to facilitate healing. Elements of the art media, and the process, engage with the unconscious and somatic holdings of the individual, providing a vehicle of expression for held emotion, and access to internal resources/knowledge, that may be held out of the conscious mind. Reflection upon the art-making aids the development of insight, improving capacity to cope.
Client feedback has been strongly positive, with reported benefits including reduced anxiety, depression and tension; increased clarity of mind; healing, and improved sleeping.