Practice to make a difference.

Art Therapy and Health Care

Demonstrating the benefits of creative expression for patients living with acute or chronic illness, this volume provides a complete, practical introduction to medical art therapy. It presents evidence-based strategies for helping people of all ages—from young children to older adults—cope with physical and cognitive symptoms, reduce stress, and improve their quality of life. Detailed case material and approximately 100 drawings and other artwork illustrate ways to work with individuals and groups with specific health conditions and challenges, as well as their family members. Contributors are experienced art therapists who combine essential background knowledge with in-depth clinical guidance.

 Key Points

  • From Cathy Malchiodi, whose top-selling books have international appeal.
  • Growing research demonstrates that art therapy can help patients cope with physical symptoms, reduce stress, and improve quality of life.
  • Addresses an array of medical problems in children and adults, such as asthma, epilepsy, cancer, HIV, and Alzheimer's disease.
  • Practical: includes detailed cases and sample artwork.
  • Much-needed resource for art therapists, counsellors, nurses, and others working in health care settings.


Art and play therapists, clinical psychologists, social workers, counsellors, and psychiatrists working or consulting in health care settings; nurses; graduate students in these fields.

 Course Use:

May serve as a text in art therapy courses.


  • Introduction to Art Therapy in Health Care Settings, Cathy A. Malchiodi
  • I. Art Therapy with Child and Adolescent Patients
  • 1. Adaptive Art Therapy with Children Who Have Physical Challenges and Chronic Medical Issues, Pamela Ullmann
  • 2. Understanding Children’s Drawings in Medical Settings, Margaret Carpenter Arnett and Cathy A. Malchiodi
  • 3. Art Therapy and Child Life: An Integrated Approach to Psychosocial Care with Pediatric Oncology Patients, Cathy A. Malchiodi and Ellen Goldring
  • 4. Art Therapy with Children and Adolescents Who Have Epilepsy, Janice Havlena and Carl E. Stafstrom
  • 5. Art Therapy with Children Who Have Asthma, Anya Beebe
  • 6. Expressive Arts with Grieving Children, Rebekah Near
  • 7. Digital Art Therapy with Hospitalized Children, Cathy A. Malchiodi and Emily R. Johnson
  • II. Art Therapy with Adult Patients
  • 8. Art Therapy as a Form of Visual Narrative in Oncology Care, Jill V. McNutt
  • 9. Using Imagery to Address Physical and Psychological Trauma, Ephrat Huss and Orly Sarid
  • 10. Expressive Arts and Breast Cancer: Restoring Femininity, Fiona Chang
  • 11. Healing across Cultures: Arts in Health Care with American Indian and Alaska Native Cancer Survivors, Elizabeth Warson
  • 12. In Body and Soul: Art Therapy with Socially Excluded People Living with HIV and AIDS, Marta Tagarro and Susana Catarino
  • 13. Art Therapy with HIV-Positive/AIDS Patients, Luis Formaiano
  • 14. Art Therapy and Hemodialysis: Coping Creatively with Kidney Failure, Rachel C. Schreibman
  • 15. Focusing-Oriented Art Therapy with People Who Have Chronic Illnesses, Laury Rappaport
  • 16. Art Therapy and Medical Rehabilitation with Adults, Marcia Weisbrot
  • 17. Art Therapy, Creative Apperception, and Rehabilitation from Traumatic Brain Injury, Margaret M. McGuinness and Kathy J. Schnur
  • 18. Art Therapy with Patients Who Have Early-Stage Alzheimer’s Disease and Mild Cognitive Impairment, Angel C. Duncan
  • III. Art Therapy with Groups and Families
  • 19. An Open Art Studio Model, Jill V. McNutt
  • 20. Young Adult Bereavement Art Group, Hannah K. Hunter, Donald Lewis, and Catherine Donovan
  • 21. Bringing the Family into Medical Art Therapy, Elizabeth Sanders Martin
  • 22. Beyond the Patient: Art and Creativity for Staff, Management, Executives, and Organizational Change, Deborah Koff-Chapin
  • IV. Professional Issues in Art Therapy and Health Care
  • 23. Patient Art Exhibitions in Health Care Settings, Emily R. Johnson
  • 24. Art Therapy Interventions with Clinical Supervision Groups in a Pediatric Health Care Setting, Shari L. Racut
  • 25. Physiological Measures in Evidence-Based Art Therapy Research, Elizabeth Warson and John Lorance
  • Appendix:
  • Ethical Standards
  • Cultural Considerations for Art Therapy in Health Care Settings
  • Art Materials and Medical Settings: Safety and Infection Control
  • Resources

 Author Bio:

Cathy A. Malchiodi, PhD, ATR-BC, LPAT, LPCC, is an art therapist, expressive arts therapist, and clinical mental health counsellor, as well as a recognized authority on art therapy with children, adults, and families. She is on the faculty of Lesley University and is a visiting professor to universities in the United States and internationally. She is also founder of the Trauma-Informed Practices Institute and President of Art Therapy Without Borders. The only person to have received all three of the American Art Therapy Association’s highest honours—Distinguished Service Award, Clinician Award, and Honorary Life Member Award—Dr. Malchiodi has also received honours from the Kennedy Center and Very Special Arts in Washington, DC. She has published numerous books, articles, and chapters, and has given more than 350 presentations on art therapy.


Art Therapy and Health Care

Author: Cathy A. Malchiodi

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