Magic as a therapeutic intervention to promote coping in hospitalized pediatric patients

Pediatr Nurs. Jan-Feb 2010;36(1):11-6; quiz 17.


Magic as a therapeutic intervention is used in an innovative, hospital-based program to address the psychosocial issues children and adolescents often experience as a result of illness and hospitalization. A child life specialist and a magician with an MBA collaborated, blending clinical expertise with business acumen and professional-level magic skills to create the program. The program has two distinct components: (1) magicians using interactive, close-up magic and humor as a technique to promote socialization, enhance self-esteem, and increase opportunities for choice and control, and (2) magicians providing the personal instruction and materials that enable chronically ill and long-term patients to learn and perform magic to promote a sense of empowerment and feelings of mastery. Positive responses from patients, families, and staff to the program at one hospital led to the creation of Open Heart Magic, a non-profit children's foundation that maintains and staffs bedside, interactive therapeutic magic programs in five hospitals in the Chicago metropolitan area.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Attitude to Health
  • Chicago
  • Child
  • Child, Hospitalized / psychology*
  • Female
  • Foundations
  • Health Promotion / methods
  • Humans
  • Magic* / psychology
  • Male
  • Nurse's Role
  • Patient Selection
  • Pediatric Nursing / organization & administration
  • Personnel Selection
  • Program Development
  • Program Evaluation
  • Psychology, Child
  • Self Concept
  • Socialization
  • Wit and Humor as Topic