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Art Therapy Services and Innovations

Art therapy is different for everyone.  Making art can be used as a tool to express feelings. For other children, it’s about finding a place to relax and take their mind off being in the hospital.

In the hospital, patients don’t always get to make their own choices, but in art therapy they can make lots of choices about what they want to do!

A typical session may include:

  • Making masks
  • Painting
  • Journaling
  • Drawing
  • Taking photos
  • Making collages
  • Making digital art

Special Services and Innovative Programs

Art therapy at Children’s Hospital of Michigan has seen several accomplishments since its implementation including:


Art therapy interventions range from collages to painting to drawing and everything in between. A unique project in the hemodialysis clinic used remote control cars to make artwork. Not only was this intervention fun and successful, it was empowering and provided much needed control for these patients. This project resulted in an accepted abstract and presentation at the Global Alliance for Arts and Healthcare conference in Houston, Texas in April 2014.

Inpatient Rehabilitation

Art therapy sessions take place in the patient’s room or in the rehabilitation dayroom or gym. On the rehabilitation unit, the art therapist focuses on sensory art making, in order to keep in line with the patient’s therapeutic goals. Mask making, using clay, journaling, bead stringing and painting are all great examples of the interventions used on the unit. A collaborative effort with the Healing Arts Program is underway to make a Rehabilitation Gallery. The patients will work with the art therapist using the tool of photography allowing patients to use and understand more about photography rather than just clicking a button. This can improve their fine and gross motor skills, which are often goals for patients on the inpatient rehabilitation unit.

Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) & Cystic Fibrosis (CF)

These two areas are unique and special populations that have been benefiting greatly from art therapy services. These patients are in complete isolation and often in the hospital for extended periods of time. Art therapy interventions offer a positive outlet for expression and coping. An example is the use of a digital camera to document and create a photo book on the patient’s therapy and treatment process so family and friends can see what the patient is going through.