Art Therapy
These therapy sessions aim to reduce the mental and psychological stress that these children face on a regular basis.

A city hospital has collaborated with professional artists to conduct art therapy sessions for chronically ill children.

Doctors at the Aster CMI Hospital in Bengaluru have tied up with artists at e-commerce art platform YepArt to start this initiative. These artists will conduct sessions for children between the ages 7 and 14 who have chronic illnesses such as cancer.

These therapy sessions, including painting and colouring, will be conducted over a period of 6-12 months and aim to reduce the mental and psychological stress that these children face on a regular basis.

The sessions will aid psychologists and counsellors in their treatment of patients in an innovative, non-medical environment along with also helping them to objectively trace the its impact on their psychological health.

"Children in such early years of life get trapped in routine hospital visits and exhaustive treatment schedules where their childhood is lost. They do not get to indulge in creative activities like their peers which eventually suppresses their imagination and the ability to express and they might go on to become individuals with low self-esteem, who either start bottling up or become very aggressive," says Dr Chetan Ginigeri, Consultant Paediatrics and Paediatric Intensive Care at Aster CMI Hospital.

"This art therapy will be a non-medical aspect of treatment to reduce the psychological and mental stress in the children diagnosed or treated with critical surgical and medical issues," he adds.

The initiative is being led by city-based artist Praveen Kumar.

"There are several benefits of art therapy in children with chronic illnesses as it helps them to express and communicate and paint their feelings with the help of colours. They find a medium to express their battle against the illness and relieve the emotional and mental stress," says Praveen Kumar.

The doctors and artists believe that these children will be able to build a sense of self with the help of a third-party who do not treat them as patients but simply as kids. This improvement in the self-image will greatly help them to overcome their inferiority regarding their appearance and lifestyle which is not the same as other children of their age.

Dr Chetan further explains, “We understand that children in these early years of life may not have many fixed ideas and can paint or express without any influence and this helps us in easily training them to mould into positive individuals. By doing this we want to prevent other behavioural complications in their future lives and eventually lead them back to mainstream life."

Artists who have previously worked with children have been selected to be a part of this initiative.