The Simms/Mann - UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology is part of UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and UCLA Oncology. To find out more about research opportunities and medical oncology care, please visit these sites.


Phone: (310) 794-6644 Fax: (310) 794-9615
Mon - Fri: 8:00AM - 5:00PM Sat - Sun: Closed


Healing Through Art

Creative Life Changes through Artistic ExpressionArtTherapy1

The Healing Through Art workshop at Simms/Mann — UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology offers cancer patients and cancer survivors a safe space for artistic expression and enhancing psychological insights while addressing topics related to health and illness, embracing life and end of life concerns. Art techniques in this workshop include automatic drawing, speed collages, expressive painting, cut out techniques and sculpture.

When attending the workshop, group members begin with warm up exercises, verbal or visual introductions, and then settle with a specific theme and a visual project. Creating the artwork takes the biggest part of the group time. Afterwards, there is a period of sharing with group members for feedback and to allow the participants to understand their emotional stories related to their work and illness. This experience lets people be inspired by everybody’s art and to gain a better understanding of themselves and others, as it relates to their life, cancer and treatments.

An artistic picture exists between the internal and external world of an individual, becoming a transformational object. It is the picture, painting, collage or sculpture that connects the physical world with the emotional world and the body with the mind. Exploring the art pieces together with the group members and the art therapist allow them to address both worlds and to use this knowledge for psychological transformation and healing.

ArtTherapy2Technical advances in cancer treatment, such as surgeries, chemotherapies, targeted therapies and radiation treatments often result in a patient’s recovery or prolonged survival; they also can shift cancer into a chronic condition accompanied by a long process of managing symptoms not unlike many other illnesses. Cancer treatments performed by highly specialized professionals, each sharing in the patient’s care, are often part of the cancer experience that can both comfort patients and at times heighten fears and bewilderment experienced by the patients and their families.

The Simms/Mann Center has long recognized the emotional impact of cancer and its treatment on patients. The larger medical community also now recognizes how much individuals living with cancer are affected in all arenas of their lives.  The Healing Through Art group led by Dr. Esther Dreifuss-Kattan, in tandem with group supports, is devoted to helping people living with cancer, their treatments, and the aftereffects that continue into survivorship as they manage the challenges they face.

The Simms/Mann — UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology invites all interested patients with cancers and post-treatment survivors to call for an appointment to participate in this creative group experience. For more information on this workshop, go to:

Esther Dreifuss-Kattan, PhD is an Art Therapist, Psychoanalyst and Psychooncologist. She has worked for 32 years with people being treated for cancer and with cancer survivors in Los Angeles, Tel-Aviv and Zurich. For more information check out her web site:

Detailed description on art therapy from the American Cancer Society:

Healing Through Art Video with Dr. Esther Dreifuss-Kattan:

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    April 20, 2020 13:04
  • Kate Macan

    Good post

    May 14, 2020 05:05
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