Art for Cancer Wellness: Patients Group
Artwork by March 2022 participant Corinna Woodard.
Facilitator: Lacy Mucklow, MA, ATR-BC, LPAT-S, LCPAT, ATCS
Time: Thursdays, 4:30 PM to 6 PM EST
Frequency: Alternating weeks, starting June 30
In this biweekly six-session workshop series, facilitated by art therapist Lacy Mucklow, participants will be invited to take part in an art therapy group for patients with cancer. Each week, participants will be guided to explore a theme designed to explore feelings, increase self-expression, foster hope and strengths, identify coping skills, and engage in mindfulness and grounding.
Week-by-Week Overview: Each workshop will be structured as follows: Check-in, sharing of theme, art making, and discussion.
Week 1: Altered Book Project
Media: Old hardbound book, various art materials (collage, colored pencils, markers, pens, etc.)
Begin with group name introductions, brief review of consent, and space to discuss the group’s expectations. Introduce the concept of altered books and begin the initiation of their book with one page that can express anything of their choice. Their book can have a theme or be eclectic based on the needs whenever an entry is made. They can use this in lieu of a sketchbook, and continue to use it outside of groups as an ongoing art journal. Discuss at the end to share what they created, what the process was like for them, and how they may use their altered book.
Note: For an altered book, you may use an old/used book of yours or find one at a thrift store, library sale or giveaway, or even get any hardback at the dollar store.
Week 2: Bridge Journey
Media: Sketchbook, various art materials (watercolor/colored pencils, pen, oil pastels, collage, etc.)
Open group with a check-in, and introduce the directive first through an opening meditation. Then each participant can use their materials to depict the bridge they envisioned, determine where they are in their picture, and which direction they are going. Discuss at the end of the group about their artwork and responses, which may lead to a larger group discussion, including journeys and destinations.
Week 3: Mandalas
Media: Square sketchbook, circular template (lid, plate, cup, etc.), oil pastels, colored/watercolor pencils
Open group with a check-in and lead into the mandala meditation. After the meditation, group members create an original mandala with their materials and share about their artwork at the end of the group during discussion. Discuss experiences making their mandala and positive effects creating mandalas can have (as shown in research) to see if they found similar benefits. End group with discussion about mandala journaling as a coping tool.
Week 4: Mindfulness: Beach Meditation
Media: Sketchbook or altered book, colored/watercolor pencils, oil pastels, other media of choice
Open group with a check-in and begin with a Soothing Beach meditation. Participants then create response artwork to the visualization and write a written reflection about their artwork, process, and/or experience. End group with discussion about mindfulness practices and how they may be helpful for grounding, healing, and reducing stress.
Week 5: Collage
Media: Sketchbook/Paper/Altered Book, old magazines or catalogs (or other print media), glue/glue stick, scissors
Find a foundational surface (altered book, sketchbook, loose paper, etc.) and choose images and words from their old magazines and various print media to create a collage. Theme can be open-ended, but may include topics such as representing how they are feeling in the moment, their cancer journey, or ways they connect with or feel supported by others. Share collages at the end of the group with discussion and close with a word to describe their overall art therapy group experience.
Note: Magazines may be found for free from Craig's List or libraries. Many times, there are magazine contributions to libraries that they cannot use, so check with your local library to see if they have donations they can give to you. You can also print out images or words from your own pictures or from online to use for your collage. You may also wish to go to https://copingmag.com/ and sign up for a free print subscription to the magazine, where you can gain information, as well as potentially use for your collage.
Week 6: Touch Stones
Media: Touch stone, old magazines or catalogs, clear glue, scissors
Following an opening check-in, the group is invited to pull out their magazines, catalogs, and other print items and choose images and words from their old magazines to create a collage on the backside of a large clear flat marble. The suggested theme is to choose a word or phrase that summarizes their time in this cycle of art for wellness group, placing the word on first, and then finding a background of a color or pattern to glue on behind the word using the clear glue. Once dry, the background can be trimmed off with scissors, and it is optional to brush glue on the back to seal the collage. The touch stone can be placed where it can be seen often as a reminder or used like a worry stone and kept available in a pocket or bag and rubbed for grounding. The group shares their word selections and touch stones and summarizes their experience in the group as a closing.