An Art Therapy Review Session

with Ed, A Cancer Survivor
Paula Howie, MA, ATR-BC, HLM, LPC

This intriguing film shows a clinical interview with an artistic individual and a long-term cancer survivor who is discussing art produced in individual therapy sessions.  Articulate and introspective, Ed deliberates about what he was experiencing as well as the physical and psychological issues arising from his treatment for testicular cancer over the course of much of his life. The film demonstrates his creativity, curiosity, and self-understanding, all of which aid him in dealing with and healing the many adversities he experienced due to his diagnosis. The tape begins with work from 1982; the portion with Ed was recorded in 1999. Paula Howie, HLM, introduces the film in 2020 and adds commentary about what knowing Ed for over 30 years meant to her. As discussed, although Ed left the hospital in 1983, during the late 1990s he suffered from iatrogenic kidney failure necessitating several operations and hospitalizations. Paula and Ed  (and sometimes his first wife) continued their work until Paula’s retirement in 2002. After that, they were in touch by phone, letters, and emails. In 2015, Paula and Ed met in Hershey, PA where Ed gave her much of his early artwork. They discussed how he did not want to spend his remaining life undergoing 5 hours of dialysis several days a week. It was so like Ed to choose how he wished to live and to die. After this meeting, he emailed Paula saying that he was leaving to live in another country. He had met someone and was planning to marry again. Paula did not hear from him for some time until 2016 when he called to let her know his condition was critical-he had returned to the United States and was in urgent need of a kidney. He died shortly thereafter, leaving a masterful body of work and many who cared for him.

Commentary by Paula Howie, MA, ATR-BC, HLM, LPC

Total Running Time: 1 hour, 4 minutes, 24 seconds

 

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