Connecting Creative Arts and the Patient : HEARTS IN HEALTH

Connecting Creative Arts and the Patient

by Bivi Franco on 07/06/16

Cancer patients face tough decisions regarding their treatment plans and quality of life. The disease changes the course of their lives and the lives of their families and friends in an instant. Many patients look for a silver lining and for ways to brighten a dim situation and sometimes dark experience. Patients looks for new and creative ways to cope with their illness. Arts in healthcare focuses on the whole picture. It focuses on improving the hospital experience for the individual patient while focusing on expression with their well being as the key component. 

In the review, “The Connection Between Art, Healing, and Public Health: A Review of Current Literature” authors Heather L. Stuckey and Jeremy Nobel explore the relationship between creative arts and health outcomes, specifically the extent to which creative arts reduce psychological and physiological outcomes. According to their review of a study conducted, they concluded that women who took part in a qualitative study focusing on cancer described ongoing cancer-related difficulties such as fear for the future, pain, sleeplessness, role loss, activity restriction, reduced self-confidence, and altered social relationships (Stuckey and Nobel, 257). The study reviewed concluded that engaging in different types of visual arts helped the women to “(1) focus on positive life experiences, (2) enhanced their self-worth and identity by providing them with opportunities to demonstrate continuity, challenge and achievement, (3) enabled them to maintain a social identity not defined by cancer, and (4) allowed them to express their feelings in a symbolic manner, especially during chemotherapy” (257). 

As the research continues and the field expands, the authors assert that  “medical professionals are beginning to recognize the role that creative arts play in the health process; increasingly, arts in medicine programs are emerging throughout the United States and worldwide” (258). Stuckey and Nobel are able to conclusively say that it is clear that artistic engagement has positive effects on health, however they are quick to note that there are limitations within their review because of the limited sample of studies and emergence of new literature (261). 

Like the study conducted, women faced with diagnosis of cancer have fears and concerns and creative arts and expression lend them a valuable outlet. Feel Beautiful Today is created with the purpose of providing love, hope and encouragement to women and girls affected by cancer through Arts in Health programs. Through programs like Joined In Hope and Through My Window, FBT hopes to continue to foster environments where patients can release their fears and focus on healing.


Stuckey, Heather L., and Jeremy Nobel. “The Connection Between Art, Healing, and Public Health: A Review of Current Literature.” American Journal of Public Health 100.2 (2010): 254–263. PMC

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