Child Life and Therapeutic Arts Programs
When your child is in the hospital, it’s normal to see signs of anxiety and distress. Uncertainty about illness or injury is stressful for young patients and families – especially in an unfamiliar environment away from known routines.
Music and art therapies can help children to express feelings of isolation, loneliness or fear and process concerns about symptoms, conditions, treatments or outcomes in a safe environment that is conducive to healing. The therapeutic arts are natural forms of expression for children and an outlet for communication when words are inadequate.
Our team facilitates meaningful interventions that open doors to comfort and healing. Musical instruments, favorite songs, creative artwork and immersive crafts can help kids relax and adjust to new medical routines, procedures and experiences so they can focus on getting better.
Supporting Your Child through Stages of Healing
Music and art therapists can help your child regain a sense of confidence and control at any stage of care. Therapists are part of your child’s care team, providing encouragement and support throughout the healing process.
Therapists can assist your child with these and other goals:
- Adjusting to a new diagnosis or treatment
- Managing pain, including emotional discomfort
- Coping with long hospitalizations
- Expressing and dealing with feelings of grief or loss
- Bonding with caregivers and peers while in the hospital
The Therapeutic Arts team may work closely with your child’s doctors, rehabilitation therapists and other practitioners as part of an integrated care plan. Therapies can support targeted speech/language development, cognitive improvement and recovering or enhancing motor skills.
Music and Art Therapy Services
Music and art therapy are free, consult-based services available to patients of all ages who are admitted to Phoenix Children’s main campus.
- A music therapist may use interactive or passive, soothing or uplifting instruments and forms of music to reach targeted therapeutic goals.
- An art therapist integrates creative expression and fundamentals of behavior and development with an imaginative array of artistic materials and resources.
Board-certified music therapists work with the multidisciplinary care team to provide individual music therapy sessions at Phoenix Children’s main campus. They use music as a tool to encourage patients to reach individualized non-musical goals, such as:
- Managing emotions
- Reducing stress
- Improving communication
- Socializing and building social skills
- Progressing toward physical and rehabilitation goals
- Sharpening or regaining neurological skills
- Comforting children with severe illnesses
Dedicated Training and Talent
The music therapists at Phoenix Children’s are multitalented music professionals with specialized education and training in pediatric care. They love sharing their talents and skills to help children and families.
Our music therapists understand the nuances of a child’s changing developmental stages and needs. They’re particularly sensitive to the emotions of children who don’t feel well and who often are struggling with adult-sized concerns.
Home Is Where the Heart Is
Their journey turned a corner when a young music therapist asked, “What can I do to help?” See how compassionate coaching and soft guitar sounds helped Lucas and his family through the long wait for a new heart.
“Just having music to be there for me was amazing!”
Patients like Amanda know the healing role of music therapy. She was 12 when she was hit by a car after school. Her stay in the intensive care unit and music therapy helped Amanda and her family learn to smile again as she achieved new personal and medical goals.
Step by Step
Witness how music and music therapists at Phoenix Children’s are reaching young patients wherever they are – from babies who are happily building motor skills to children who had to relearn how to talk and walk.
Art therapy is art with a purpose. It integrates creative expression and fundamentals of behavior and development with various kinds of art media. These can range from chalk, crafts and paint to puppets, toys and games. Art therapists use customized activities to help patients reach a variety of treatment goals. They also help children to explore emotions and build confidence as they gain a sense of personal control. Art therapy can bring meaning to troubling events and circumstances, while relieving stress and helping treatment goals progress.
As part of your child’s care team at Phoenix Children’s, an art therapist can provide these and other art therapy benefits to patients:
Emotional, Behavioral and Psychological Benefits
- Enhancing focus and concentration
- Reducing anxiety and depression
- Regulating emotions
- Building coping skills
- Expressing and sharing thoughts
- Reducing feelings of isolation
- Socializing and bonding with family, physicians, care teams and peers
Medical, Physical and Health Benefits
- Managing obstacles of physical illness or disability
- Improving speech and language skills
- Improving hand dexterity
- Rebuilding skills after an injury
A full-time, board-certified art therapist currently works with the multidisciplinary team to provide individual art therapy sessions at our main hospital campus.
Practitioners work together to develop individualized areas of focus and goals that are unique to each child’s needs. Specialists will review and update goals as your child’s care needs change.
For information about volunteering at Phoenix Children’s, please contact our Volunteer Services department.