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Evidence for Healing Therapy: Art Therapy

Women undergoing breast reconstruction experience pain after the surgical process (Consentino, 2009). Several preventive measures have been tried to remedy this situation. Stress and depression are other symptoms related to the diagnosis and treatment of the medical complication. Strategies to help women cope with such plastic surgery issues are therefore being developed and implemented. Research has been conducted on how art therapy can intervene in these predicaments.

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A research study focusing on the coping of patients was done on women of different ages and social backgrounds. 41 patients were divided into two groups of individual sessions and a control group (Magnusson, Oster, Svensk, Thyme, et al, 2006). The therapy allowed them to reflect and express thoughts about how they perceive themselves and strived to reduce stress among patients and improve their body image. The first art therapy session involved drawing visual images that are analogous to represent different feelings. The second session involved drawing of personal body image outline to express different feelings in their body through shape and color. The women followed their own choices with relevant application of individual art therapy in the third and fourth sessions. In the final session, they created an image as a summary of the creative journey.

The coping mechanisms of the patients significantly increased for those who underwent art therapy. The healing process depends on how one experiences her body and her relationship with others. Social and material resources, positive beliefs, and energy are part of the applicable strategies. Breasts symbolize motherhood and sexuality, and their relation to femininity frequently coerces victims to the surgery room. The identity and relationship that they maintain are usually influenced by the media and medical reports (Magnusson, Oster, Svensk, Thyme, et al, 2006). In the study, viewing one’s body positively helped in coping with breast reconstruction.

The second study which involved 86 women aimed to describe the relationship between anxiety and pain after surgery. It involved research that gives evidence on how different forms of therapies of breast reconstruction and mastectomies help reduce acute and chronic pain in victims (Lopez, Kodumudi, Naravan, Schreck, & Vadivel, 2008). The studies indicate that the surgical process has different effects depending on the physical and mental distinctiveness of the client.

The pain that women go through after a mastectomy and breast reconstruction occasionally produces negative impacts on the physical and psychological procedures of the body. A variety of everyday life activities such as employment, sex, and socializing are therefore affected (Lopez, Kodumudi, Naravan, Schreck, & Vadivel, 2008). Different forms of alternative medicine proved beneficial in eliminating or reducing the pain related to the surgical procedure.

Art therapy is one of the mind-body strategies under CAM. The mind is manipulated to influence how the body behaves to enhance healing. The results of the reports prove that it increases cohesion, decreases depression and stress, and improves general well-being. The experiences of women and their emotions are part of art therapy, which enables them to focus on specific issues of concern. This treatment method employs color, paper, and images to symbolically express the intensity of feelings (Cosentino, 2009). The responses of the client to the created images reflect an individual’s beliefs and concerns.

The use of creative expression can be successfully integrated into the nursing practice to promote the physical and emotional treatment process. Particular techniques will help me understand my patients’ feelings, develop their social skills, and reduce anxiety before entering the surgery room (Rubin, 2001). Patients would be subjected to an unstructured approach, where they would choose colors and materials of their choice, allowing comatose material to appear. They would then draw pictures that describe their perception and relationship to society. The clients may also be clustered and work together to create images to promote conversations that will explore coping strategies.

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Art therapy is based on a theory of innovation and healing arising from one source (Rubin, 2001). It is not merely a way to relax or practice doing sketches, rather it provides a sensory system in the body which teaches patients to use images and objects to explain their emotions to society. A proper session will result in a greater understanding of self, which will ensure a faster healing process.


Cosentino, B. (2009). Art therapy: how creative expression can heal. The Doctors of USC. Web.

Lopez, J., Kodumudi, G., Naravan, D., Schreck, M., & Vadivel, N. (2008). Invited commentary: pain after mastectomy and breast reconstruction. Walden University Library.

Magnusson, E., Oster, I., Svensk, A., Thyme, K., et al. (2006). Art therapy improves coping resources: a randomized controlled study among women with breast cancer. Walden University. Web.

Rubin, J. (2001). Approaches to art therapy: theory and technique (2). New York: Psychology press.

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