Children's Hospital Colorado
Pediatric Mental Health Institute
Pediatric Mental Health Institute

Art Therapy

What is art therapy?

Art therapy is the therapeutic use of art making within a professional clinical setting, by children and families experiencing illness, trauma, grief or challenges in living. Through creating and reflecting on the art products and processes, children can:

  • Increase awareness of themselves and others
  • Learn to cope with symptoms, stress and traumatic experiences
  • Enhance cognitive abilities
  • Facilitate identity formation and self-esteem
  • Enjoy the life-affirming pleasures of making art

Why choose Children’s Hospital Colorado?

The art therapists of the Ponzio Creative Arts Therapy Program at Children’s Colorado are part of a unique, comprehensive program featuring art, music, dance/ movement and yoga Therapies. Our therapists work together with medical and psychiatric treatment teams to integrate creative expression into the healing process. The team’s experts use art materials with children and families to help them express, communicate and understand themselves and each other.

How does art therapy help kids?

A woman in a white shirt with green and blue leaves on it helps a young girl with dark hair work with clay.An adolescent recovering from an eating disorder said of the arts therapy program, “If you let your heart guide the paintbrush even a little, even if you feel frightened or are unable to actually say it, some of what you feel can’t help but splash onto the canvas.”Because children often feel scared, nervous or upset during hospital visits, art therapy offers them the ability to make choices and be in control. Art therapy allows children and families to explore and express their emotional responses to their hospital experience, which are sometimes difficult to capture with words.

What kind of training do art therapists have?

Art therapists are mental health professionals trained in both art and therapy. They are knowledgeable about human development; psychological processes, psychiatric diagnoses; spiritual, multicultural and artistic traditions; and the healing potential of art. They use art in treatment, assessment, and research, providing consultations and integrated services to allied professionals. Art therapists work with people of all ages and all ability levels.

Video: the story of how art therapy changed a life



What to expect from art therapy

Medical patients and families can access individual art therapy by referral. Psychiatric patients and families experience art therapy group sessions within their integrated treatment schedules. Any patient or family may request art therapy as an integral part of your visit to Children's Hospital Colorado.

Contact us

To get started, please contact the Ponzio Creative Arts Therapy Program at 720-777-4360.


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