Art Therapy for Individuals Living with AIDS & Cancer

Ellen Urbani, MA, ATR

One might, at first, think that this video is about Occupational Therapy, as we view Roger, a cancer patient, discuss his project with his art therapist. But asked to talk about how therapy helped him to cope with depression, the emotional and psychological tone of the video changes. Roger then expresses gratitude for his new-found meaning in life as well as encouragement in therapy to express and cope with painful feelings, enabling him to make the most of the time that is left for him.

Similar expressions of gratitude for the psychological safety of art therapy were expressed by other cancer patients, followed by a longer discussion of the purpose of art therapy by Ellen Urbani Hildebrand. Defining her role as helping patients accept the reality of their diagnoses while embracing their strengths, she stressed the importance of coping with what is inevitable, while finding ways of expressing powerful feelings in therapy – and in life. While the video deals with devastating illness, it is paradoxically also uplifting, leaving the viewer with feelings of gratitude for those who express their innermost thoughts, serving as compassionate spokespersons for art therapy.

Total Running Time: 56 minutes, 28 seconds



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