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Art therapy in oncology

Marianne Dufour obtained her Master’s in Art Therapy from Concordia University in 2000. For ten years, she worked as an art therapist and group facilitator in community-based organizations providing support to disadvantaged teenagers and adults. She has taught psychology at the college level and also co-developed and delivered a training program in mental health for youth counselors in the lavallois community network in collaboration with the Service Populaire de Psychoth√©rapie before joining the CHU Sainte-Justine’s psychosocial team in 2007.

Art therapy services in the Oncology Program are provided to the siblings of young patients undergoing cancer treatment and/or to sick children at any stage of treatment.

Children are encouraged to draw pictures and to discuss their artwork with the therapist as a means to better understand their emotions and behaviours. Through art-making, children gradually come to deal with their feelings, often complex and contradictory. They become better able to express their needs to those around them in amore direct and conscious manner. The process tends to help children build self-awareness, self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-reliance; to reduce anxiety and rigid behaviour; and to restore a certain level of emotional fluidity.

Individual therapy may be undertaken as a preventive measure or in response to coping difficulties. It is provided to sick children and siblings of sick children at any stage of the disease, and justification for providing the service is evaluated based on an assessment of each child.

Group therapy is provided regularly to siblings who are interested in sharing their experience with other children. Participating in a group helps to break feelings of isolation, increase self-awareness, foster self-understanding, and communicate while having fun.



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Updated on 9/30/2014
Created on 9/30/2014
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