Healing Arts

Creative Arts Therapies 


Art Therapy


Art therapy is the use of art-making to improve a child’s physical and emotional well-being during hospitalization or while living with chronic pain or illness. It is based on the belief that artistic self-expression helps young patients resolve problems, develop interpersonal skills, increase self-esteem, relieve stress and achieve insight.

Art Therapists are master’s level therapists who are specifically trained in art, counseling, and psychology . They blend their knowledge of visual art, the creative process, child/human development, behavior, personality, and psychology into their practice.

For more information about Art Therapy at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St. Vincent, contact 317-338-8723.

Art Therapy and Why It Works

Art therapy stimulates creativity while encouraging self-expression in a safe and supportive environment. As each child progresses, the therapist analyzes common themes, symbols and imagery in their artwork. This is one of the most unique and important aspects of art therapy, because it allows children to communicate their feelings non-verbally .

Art therapy also has the potential to alleviate feelings of helplessness and lack of control that are often associated with physical debilitation and hospitalization. Most important, it gives children the opportunity to become actively engaged in their own medical treatment .

Art Therapy and How It Works
  • Provides an opportunity for emotional expression
  • Builds a sense of control
  • Supports non-pharmacologic pain and symptom management or control
  • Promotes, develops, and strengthens health coping strategies
  • Provides a safe place to communicate feelings
  • Increases motivation or participation with other therapies (Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy)
  • Decreases anxiety and nausea
  • Brightens mood
  • Increases pride, focus, and energy
  • Develops and affirms positive body image and self-esteem

Music Therapy


Music Therapy is an evidence-based practice that uses music interventions facilitated by a board certified music therapist to assess and address the unique needs of hospitalized infants, children, and adolescents.

As children create, sing and listen to music, therapists are able to assess physical, social, cognitive, and emotional well-being. Music therapists may use music listening, singing, instrument playing, improvisation, songwriting, recording, or analysis within a therapeutic relationship to improve health and ones ability to cope with illness.

Music Therapists have a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degrees in Music Therapy. Additional specialized certifications are available such as Neonatal Intensive Care Music Therapy, Neurologic Music Therapy, and Guided Imagery in Music.

For more information about the Music Therapy Program at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St. Vincent contact 317-338-7112.

Music Therapy and Why It Works
  • Music affects us emotionally, physiologically, psychologically, socially, and cognitively
  • Music is a universal language; it crosses cultures to communicate basic human emotions
  • Music is a familiar part of everyday life
  • Music can be soothing, motivating, challenging, and supportive
  • No musical talent is necessary in order to benefit
  • Sessions are structured to be success oriented, meeting the child at their level of functioning
Music Therapy and How It Works
  • Promotes relaxation
  • Reduces stress, anxiety, and depression
  • Manages pain and discomfort
  • Creates a container for safe, emotional expression
  • Initiates change in mood and emotional states
  • Assists with physical, neurological, and speech rehabilitation
  • Provides experiences for memory making and legacy building
  • Provides support during grief and bereavement
  • Teaches healthy coping skills
  • Promotes normal infant and child development

Dance/movement Therapy


Dance/movement therapy is the use of the mind/body connection to improve a child’s emotional, physical and psychosocial experience related to hospitalization, illness, chronic pain, trauma or loss.

Through movement observation, assessment and playful interaction, the dance/movement therapist meets the child on a primary, nonverbal level. The therapist uses creative movement, play, gross and fine motor games, yoga or meditation as interventions support the child and family.

The Dance/movement Therapy Program at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St. Vincent is provided by a master’s level, Board Certified Dance/movement therapist, who is also a registered yoga and meditation teacher. The synergistic trainings in movement and psychotherapeutic theory and application combine to treat stress, anxiety, depression and to build vitality, resiliency and increased coping even in the face of hospitalization.

For more information about the Dance/movement Therapy Program at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at Ascension St. Vincent contact 317-338-8949.

Dance/Movement Therapy and Why It Works
  • A child’s first and best language is movement. It is their tool for learning, communicating and change.
  • Movement is an expression of personality.
  • Change in movement and the body affects change in the psyche, emotions, personality cognition, behavior and physical self.
  • Kids love to dance. It is an easy access point to address more difficult issues.
  • The creative act opens kids to possibility and hope.
  • Movement work helps to regain trust in one’s body during and after hospitalization.
Dance/movement Therapy and How It Works
  • Builds a sense of control, develops and affirms positive body image and self-esteem
  • Fosters resiliency and recovery from trauma
  • Provides a safe place to inhabit feelings and aids in regulating affect
  • Develops and strengthens healthy coping
  • Offers opportunity for families to find joy together through supportive play
  • Supports pain management and fear of pain through gentle, recuperative movement, yoga and meditation
  • Releases muscular tension associated with anxiety or fear
  • Builds vitality diminished by depression or hospitalization

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