A narrative view of art therapy and art making by women with breast cancer

J Health Psychol. 2006 Sep;11(5):761-75. doi: 10.1177/1359105306066632.


Art therapy (with an art therapist) and art making (without an art therapist) show promise as avenues for psychosocial support for women with breast cancer. The purpose of this study was to gain an in-depth understanding of how 17 women with breast cancer in Canada and the USA used art therapy and their own art making to address their psychosocial needs, focusing particularly on meaning making. Narrative analysis of interviews yielded four storylines: Art and Art Therapy as a Haven; Getting a Clearer View; Clearing the Way Emotionally; and Enhancing and Enlivening the Self. The storylines show existence being affirmed, confirmed and proclaimed through visual artistic expression and meaning making being achieved through physical acts of making.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Art Therapy*
  • Art*
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology*
  • British Columbia
  • Creativity*
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life / psychology
  • San Francisco
  • Self Concept
  • Sick Role*