Art therapy ties art-making and psychology together with the creative process and human experience to help people improve their emotional and physical well-being.

At the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital (UMCH), we recognize that hospitalization and medical treatment can be uniquely stressful experiences for children. That’s why our pediatric art therapy program, developed in partnership with The Yumi C.A.R.E.S. Foundation, provides free services as needed to support patients and their families during their stay at UMCH.

Sessions are either at the child’s bedside or in the art therapy studio, depending on their comfort and health. To provide optimal care, the art therapist collaborates with other members of the health care team and develops a treatment plan.

Individual and group art therapy services are provided to patients in

  • Pediatric Progressive Care Unit
  • Pediatric Intensive Care Unit 
  • Pediatric Emergency Department

A child must be at least 3 years old with developmentally appropriate speech and language skills to engage effectively in art therapy.

What is Art Therapy

Art is a natural language for children and adolescents. One does not need to be “good” at art to benefit from art therapy. Through the act of creating and verbally processing their artwork and experience with an art therapist, a patient can:

  • Express thoughts and feelings related to their admission, treatment or diagnosis
  • Process emotional conflicts, including grief and loss
  • Develop healthy coping skills
  • Decrease stress and anxiety 
  • Express and cope with pain by increasing control, encouraging relaxation and providing distraction
  • Make personalized meaning of one’s illness or condition
  • Rebuild a sense of well-being, thus increase resiliency and hope
  • Gain a sense of control and mastery in a medical environment by making choices
  • Build self-awareness and increase self-esteem, benefitting a patient’s overall recovery

University of Maryland Art Therapists

Our art therapists hold at least a master’s degree in art therapy and are licensed by the Maryland Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists. Students participating in our art therapy internship program are enrolled in a graduate-level art therapy program and are supervised by a licensed clinical professional art therapist (LCPAT).

For questions about our internship program, contact the University of Maryland Children's Hospital Art Therapy program at 410-328-7718. Learn more about how you can help our art therapy program.