After announcing plans for her art therapy initiative, Second Lady Karen Pence visited Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas today to see first-hand how art therapy is making a difference in Central Texas.
Following a walk-and-talk including a special visit with a 6-year-old patient engaged in art therapy activities, Pence sat down with Dell Children’s art therapist Elizabeth Hendley, MA, ATR-BC, along with Ascension and Dell Children’s leaders to discuss the healing benefits of art. Dell Children’s is part of Ascension, the largest nonprofit health system in the U.S. and the largest Catholic health system in the world.
“Art-making and calming interactions with the therapist helps children feel more relaxed, more energized and less anxious, leading to emotional and physical healing,” Hendley says.
The Dell Children’s art therapy program began in 2007, shortly after the hospital’s doors first opened. A growing form of treatment in the US, therapists use art as a form of expression to help patients of all ages understand and cope with trauma, injury and illness. Art therapy is used primarily for pain management, processing trauma, relieving stress, rehabilitation support, processing new diagnoses, decreasing anxiety before or after a procedure, family bonding, and grief support.