Submitted By: Dawn Prevost-Zontanos
When Tricia Schinkel speaks about her work, she is clearly passionate about what she does. Tricia was part of the Creative Arts Therapy team at Juravinski Hospital, made up of music and art therapy. The Art Therapy program ran for over a year on C3, which consists of Oncology and Gastrointestinal patients. As an Art Therapist, Tricia has a counselling degree with a specialization in art therapy. She sees a significant improvement in her patients in the minimum time she spends with them and constantly hears her patients say, “this is the best thing that has happened to me since I’ve been at the hospital,” and that is very rewarding for her. During her three hour weekly visits she would see between three to eight patients individually and uses different tools to access mood, stress, and pain. After her art based therapy is complete, she reassesses their symptoms to see if there are improvements. Art Therapy started getting traction in the 1980’s and Art Therapists are commonly seen in pediatric wards. Tricia’s goal is to create more access to programs, as the program on C3 was the only program in Hamilton of its kind. Tricia works with the patients in a variety of ways doing a variety of forms of art therapy. One form of therapy Tricia consistently sees as beneficial for cancer patients is gratitude art, were patients create an image and write down all the things they are grateful for. It gives patients a sense of hope and reminds them of the positive things in their life. The benefits of Art Therapy are relaxation, decrease in stress, distraction from pain, the ability to address emotional concerns and overall enjoyment. Tricia hopes to remove the stigma that Art Therapy is just arts and crafts and educate people on the significant benefits it provides to patients and their families.