When people think of therapy the most common therapy session that comes to mind probably includes a person sitting across from or lying down beside a therapist and talking about their feelings. But what if you can never quite find the right words to say to express yourself or talking through what you are feeling doesn’t seem to be helping? The truth is therapy comes in all shapes and sizes. People are looking for and creating new ways to help cope with the stresses in their lives.
For breast cancer, more and more people are finding that art and music can be healing and effective ways to cope with their diagnosis and reduce the stress that comes with it.
What is art therapy and how do I do it?
Art therapy can be an effective way to treat anxiety, depression and fatigue, three common side effects of breast cancer treatment. It can allow you to express your feelings without having to talk it out with a stranger. It can also be a much more affordable form of therapy if you lack private insurance coverage for traditional therapy.
Therapy can be expressed through different types of art. You can choose to draw, paint, or work with clay – whatever medium feels most comfortable and natural for you. People may find that working with their hands is more relaxing and because you are not obligated to explain yourself, it can build self-esteem and self-exploration. The best thing is, you don’t need consider yourself a creative or artistic person to benefit from art therapy!
To learn more about art therapy and to find a therapist in your community, visit the Canadian Art Therapy Association.
What about music therapy?
Similar to art therapy, music therapy offers an alternative way to connect with your emotions and help improve your quality of life after a breast cancer diagnosis. It has also been known to help manage pain symptoms.
Also, like art therapy, you don’t need to have any skills playing instruments or creating music. Music therapy can take on many different forms including listening to music, playing music, songwriting, or singing. Music therapy can be done in a group or private setting.
To learn more about the benefits of music therapy and to find a therapist near you visit the Canadian Association of Music Therapists.
It’s important to remember that you do not have to have any artistic or musical skills to benefit from these forms of therapy. Simply the act of participating and allowing yourself to express your inner thoughts in an alternative way can benefit you more than you know.