Art Therapy for all Those Affected by Cancer

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NEWS | Art Therapy for all Those Affected by Cancer | CommunityNI.org | The portal for the Voluntary and Community Sector in Northern Ireland | Supported by NICVA

Art Therapy for all Those Affected by Cancer Art therapy encourages you to express yourself and communicate how you feel. Sometimes it is hard to find words to say how they feel and what they are thinking and Art Therapy can be another way to express things.

When I’m not Laughing
When I’m not Laughing, acrylic on card.

Clients externally express their internal feelings without words in art therapy When you or someone close to you has cancer it is normal to feel anxious, frightened and worried about the future. Everyone copes differently but most people wish to convey these new feelings they are experiencing. Sometimes it is good to express ourselves to someone who has helped others with these issues.

Ulster Cancer Foundation’s Art Therapist has been specially trained and is experienced in helping patients, families and care workers cope with cancer. In Art Therapy, people are encouraged to express what they cannot say with words through drawing, paintings, sculpture, collage or other art forms. The actual process of art can also alleviate emotional stress and anxiety and provide relief from painful or troubling feelings.

Art therapy is not about teaching art and it’s not necessary to be artistic in order to benefit from the process. Emphasis is on the creative exploration and not on the art product, so even making simple strokes on a page can lead to enlightening results for participants.

Art Therapy provides a way for people to come to terms with emotional conflicts, increase self awareness and express unspoken and often subconscious concerns about the illness and their lives. It can act as a distraction for participants, providing time for relaxation, managing stress and promoting clarity of thought, all of which assist in leading to a greater sense of well-being.

The sessions are entirely confidential and take place in a safe, non-judgmental environment. Ulster Cancer Foundation’s Art Therapy sessions are free of charge and run at Ulster Cancer Foundation, 40/44 Eglantine Avenue, Belfast as well as Macmillan Support and Information Centre at Belfast City Hospital.

If you would like further information or to register for a session, please contact Mari Flannery on Icon of a telephone 028 9066 3281 or Icon of a telephone 028 9068 0756. Mari K. Flannery, State Registered Art Therapist Mari K. Flannery obtained her MSc in Art Therapy at Queen’s University, interning in mental health, cancer care, with individuals possessing severe physical disabilities, hospital based settings and residential homes.

Throughout these placements and previous placement experience, she developed a considerable understanding of the art processes underpinned by a sound knowledge of the therapeutic practice.

Contained Chaos
Contained Chaos, mixed media.

The art created is something the participants can control. Expressing emotions through the materials can be freeing, especially when things seem chaotic. Prior to moving to Northern Ireland, Mari trained in the psychology, studio arts and non-verbal communication at New York University, earning a Bachelor of Science. Thereafter, she qualified as a Creative Art Therapist within The New School University, carrying out her art therapy placement at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY.

She is currently working for Ulster Cancer Foundation and at the Macmillan Support and Information Centre. Mari K. Flannery is a registered member of The Health Professions Council, The British Association of Art Therapist, The American Art Therapy Association, The Northern Ireland Group for Art as Therapy and The International Networking Group of Art Therapist. She has had articles printed in international art therapy publications and holds a strong psychotherapeutic understanding of the importance of boundaries, respect and confidentiality.

Source of article HERE

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