Healing Through the Arts

May 12, 2020

Me, Creative?
Even if you don’t think you have an artistic bone in your body, you may have experienced the process of creating. You may have engaged in “creative” activities and not even realized it. For example, have you built a piece of furniture, photo shopped family photos on your phone, tweaked a recipe or created a new dish to share, planted a container garden, doodled while talking on the phone, or written a meaningful or funny message to someone in a greeting card? If so, you are creative!

What is Healing Art all about?
When you engage in even the simplest of creative processes, it brings a sense of accomplishment, peace and well-being. This is the fundamental construct behind the concept of “healing art.” There is something inherent in the creative process that makes us feel good!

The creative process promotes a sense of well-being, personal fulfillment, and self-expression because it is an “opportunity to express oneself imaginatively, authentically, and spontaneously”.

Malchiodi, C. (2014). The Handbook of Art Therapy. The Guilford Press: New York

Why does it help?

Why does the creative process promote a sense of well-being? Whether creative processes similar to what is described above or more “traditional” processes such as drawing or painting, all are forms of expression. They help to inform ourselves and others about our internal thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and motivations.

Try it Out!

While we are keeping each other safe by staying at home, here is a healing arts activity to give you the opportunity of exploring your grief and memories of your loved one in the hopes of bringing you understanding and comfort. Remember this project is for you, although sharing it with someone may bring you additional support.

Suggested materials: Paper or paper grocery bag, colors, markers, magazines, wrapping paper, tissue paper, paste/glue, paints, pencils.

Suggested Process:

  • Draw a 9″ to 11″ heart on a piece of paper.
  • Take a couple deep breaths in and then exhale slowly to center yourself as you think about your loved one.
  • Fill the heart with shapes or images you associate with your loved one, examples include activities enjoyed, what you miss about them, dreams you had, etc. You can draw or cut/paste images into this heart.


  • Fill the heart with different colored sections that remind you of your loved one. Then write words/or phrases that describe your thoughts, dreams, memories associated with each color.
  • Remember, however you chose to complete your heart, it will be special and meaningful to you.
  • You may wish to ask yourself simple questions about your piece: What surprised you? What comforted you? What feelings were ones you’ve had before? What feelings were new for you? Are there any thoughts or words you’d like to add outside of the heart? What do you think your loved one would appreciate?

Remember this project is for you, although sharing it with someone may bring you additional support.

Unity will hold the Healing thru the Arts group on the 4th Thursday of each month at 2-3:30 PM and 6-7:30 PM in the De Pere Unity office once it is safe to meet in person. The group is open to all in the community, and there is no charge to attend thanks to generous donations. Registration is required. Please call Unity at 920-338-1111 if you would like more information or to register.

To learn more about Unity Hospice’s services and how we are supporting the community during COVID-19, please visit here or call 1-800-990-9249.

If you found this information helpful, please share it with your network and community.