Esther Dreifuss-Kattan, PhD, ATR
My primary responsibility at the Simms/Mann — UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology is the facilitator of the “Healing Through Art Group.” I have facilitated this group since 2003. I love my group and am always amazed about the wonderfully expressive art my patients create. I also help to curate exhibits of our patients’ work and have organized one exhibit with the assistance of a medical student at UCLA, Nishan Tchekmedyian. It was entitled, “The Healing Arts: Visual Insights into the Cancer Experience” in 2006. The second exhibit which I curated alone was entitled, “Women Fight Cancer Through Art” which was co-sponsored by the New Center for Psychoanalysis (NCP) from May – July 2007 in West Los Angeles and coincided with the MOCA Geffen Contemporary exhibit, “WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution.”
I have had a great deal of training in many different aspects of art and psychology. I received a diploma in Art and Fashion Design from the Experimental Art School and School for Fashion Design in Zurich Switzerland and in analytic psychology from the C. G. Jung Institute in Zurich. In 1976 I received a Master of Art degree in Art Therapy and Psychology from Goddard College in Vermont and Washington DC, followed with a Ph.D. in Art Therapy-Psychooncology from the Union Institute in Cincinnati, Ohio. My second Ph.D. 1995 I received from the Southern California Psychoanalytic Institute, Beverly Hills, California. I am licensed with the American Art Therapy Association as a Registered Art Therapist (ATR) and as a Research Psychoanalyst through the Medical Board of California since 1991.
I currently work as a psychoanalyst, psycho-oncologist and art therapist in my private practice in Beverly Hills in addition to my work here at the Simms/Mann Center. After working five years in psychiatry in art therapy I thought that art could be very beneficial to cancer patients too. Thus I started as a psycho-oncologist and introduced art therapy to cancer patients in 1979 in the department of clinical oncology at the University of Zurich Medical Center where I received grants from the Swiss Cancer Society and National Society for Cancer Research of Switzerland. I was awarded a prize from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Zurich for my article, “The Psychotherapeutic Significance of Art Therapy in the Treatment of Cancer Patients.” As a liaison psycho-oncologist I worked at the Chaim Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer in the Radiation Oncology department in Tel Aviv, Israel. I was a lecturer in the graduate school of psychology at the University of Tel-Aviv. I also wrote a book, Cancer Stories-Creativity and Self Repair which was published by The Analytic Press and have another one forth coming, Art and Mourning-Beyond Words and Time. I continue to be a Senior Faculty member of the New Center for Psychoanalysis (NCP), a clinical consultant to the UCLA Pediatric Pain Program and the psychologist in Residence for Chai Lifeline West Coast, a non for profit organization for families dealing with pediatric cancer.
Personal Interest and Perspectives
Having lived in three countries, Switzerland, Israel and the US, I very much enjoy the multicultural aspects of Los Angeles with its museums, music events and theaters. Hiking in the mountains or walking on the beach relaxes me very much and inspires me to write and think. I also love to cook, entertain and be around my family.