The Ulster Cancer Foundation (UCF) is providing an art therapy service, free of charge, for cancer patients and their families in Newry and the surrounding area.
Starting on the 6th March, the art therapy group will meet every Tuesday for five weeks at the Southern Area Hospice from 2pm – 3.30pm.
Wendy Roberts, Art Therapist at UCF said, “You do not need to be artistic or have any experience in art to enjoy the benefits of art therapy. Art therapy can help people communicate anxiety or stress. In my experience many participants find the creative process relaxing and they can unwind while chatting to others who are in a similar situation.
“We know that cancer affects everyone differently. It can make people feel that they have lost control, increase feelings of isolation and it can often reduce a person’s self-esteem. However research has shown that creating art can have a positive impact - improving a patient’s physical, mental and emotional well-being. For many cancer patients and those close to them this can result in a better understanding of the illness and coming to terms with the disease and the future.”
Following treatment for cancer, one local woman, Siobhan McQuade, attended UCF’s art therapy service. She said, “As a teacher I know how much fun and enjoyment children get from art and how feelings can be released. So when I discovered UCF’s art therapy service I was overjoyed that there was an outlet for me too.
“When I went to my first art therapy session, Joanne, the art therapist put me at ease. She acted as a facilitator, so I was in complete control of what I wanted to do during a session and it was exhilarating.
“Ultimately art therapy is an individual and transforming experience. It sounds silly to think that making marks on a page can help, but it does. The therapy aspect happens on a subconscious level and whilst I found the sessions emotional, I left each week feeling more relaxed. At the beginning I felt like I was swimming in dark turbulent waters but as time progressed, things became clearer and I was re-energised and hopeful about life.”
UCF’s Art Therapy sessions are entirely confidential and take place in a safe and caring environment. All materials are provided, free of charge, and participants can use a variety of mediums such as paints, pastels, pencils or clay.
Participants are required to pre-book, as there are a limited number of places available. To book please contact Joanne Robinsonat UCF on 028 9066 3281 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
UCF’s art therapy service will be visiting a number of venues acrossNorthern Irelandduring 2011 so that cancer patients can access this valuable service in their own community. For further details please contact Joanne Robinson or call UCF’s freephone cancer information and support helpline on 0800 783 3339.