Art And Other Integrative Therapies Help Breast Cancer Patients Heal Mind And Spirit

Art and other complementary therapies help breast cancer patients heal their minds and spirits © WAVY Powered by Norfolk Art and other integrative therapies help breast cancer patients heal their minds and spirits

NORFOLK, Va. (Wavy) – When Valerie Mitchell sits down with a box of labels, there's nothing to scratch.

"I'm a girl with figurines. I paint," he said.

It might not be what you expect in an art therapy session, but Jillian O'Leary, an art therapy intern at Eastern Virginia Medical School , explains that it's perfect.

"You don't have to have artistic skills. It's not about making beautiful art, it's about making meaningful art that heals you,” O'Leary said.

Six years after being diagnosed with breast cancer, Mitchell has called for an art therapy study, which is awaiting results, to see if the cancer has returned.

"I just went with the wave feel because it worked, and I painted the umbrella like a big wave," Michelle explained as she showed off her art.

"Because I felt like a fourth grader, a fifth grader could hit me, my life could really be turned upside down."

Yolerius Mitchell helped turn her doodles into history.

"I like to ask, 'How did you get me to talk about this with a piece of art?' "How crazy! I love it, this art is art therapy!"

Putting his feelings on paper did wonders for Mitchell's mind.

"It was like a lifesaver, it seems weird, but it's actually very rewarding," Mitchell told WAVY.

This is also important for physical therapy.

"The good news is that the forecast was wrong, it was more like a tropical storm," Mitchell said of his latest diagnosis. But he doesn't accept his labels, he will continue to draft to see the sunshine that comes from emotional support.

If art therapy isn't your thing, there's a list of other options, including music, massage, reiki, tai chi and yoga.

Mitchell was treated at Centara Brook Cancer Center in Norfolk, which has everything.

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