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Expressive Arts Therapy at the Zakim Center

  • music therapy session

  • Expressing oneself through the arts, whether visual or musical, can help patients feel more relaxed, support pain management, and provide valuable coping skills. The Zakim Center's creative arts specialists provide guidance to patients in painting, writing, and making jewelry, collages, and other visual media. Our music therapist facilitates group experiences that explore active music making and listening, paired with mindfulness and relaxation techniques to decrease feelings of isolation and enhance quality of life for cancer patients. Materials are provided for these sessions, and no artistic experience is necessary.
    Learn more about Expressive Arts Therapy

    Music Therapy Consultations

    Music therapy is the clinical use of music as a tool to help treatment goals. Music therapy has been clinically shown to bring about positive changes in mood and increase quality of life by changing our awareness of pain, reducing anxiety, and supporting participants in developing positive coping skills. A music therapy session may include making music through songwriting or playing an instrument, or through music listening, such as in meditation with live music. The therapist may also share different ways you can use music and creativity in your own time to support your treatment goals.

    Similar to talk therapy, an important part of music therapy is the guidance of a board-certified music therapist to engage in evidence-based practices, facilitate supportive discussion, and guide the experience overall. You and the music therapist will work together to develop a plan that is accessible, fun, and meets your personal interests and needs. No prior musical experience is required to benefit from music therapy services. Our expressive arts therapy programs are offered free of charge and are designed for patients and families with a diverse range of experience, interests, and needs.

    Music Therapy Group Classes

    Meditation with Live Music

    Experience an alternative mindfulness meditation experience with the presence of live music. Research shows that listening to live music during meditation may help focus an active mind, decrease heart rate, anxiety, and pain, and guide you to a deeper relaxation.

    Beginners Ukulele

    Research shows that playing music may reduce pain, increase quality of life, and manage stress. Ukuleles are simple to play for any age, easy to transport, and great for playing many styles of music.

    Drum Circle for Beginners

    Drum Circle sessions include a guided experience of mindfulness in basic drumming techniques, and group drumming instruction for all levels. Group drumming can support relaxation, stress reduction, improved mood, and sense of community.
    Register for music therapy group classes

    Heartbeat Songs Project

    The heartbeat is a symbol of compassion, resilience, and personal identity. Each of us has our own unique heartbeat, and our own story to tell. The Heartbeat Songs project pairs patients and family members with a music therapist to co-create original music that incorporates the recorded sound of the participants' heartbeat. Music may be instrumental or with lyrics. Sessions may include discussion, picking musical sounds and styles, song meaning development, or lyrics writing. Songs can serve as a personal memento or even a gift for a loved one, and participants will receive a digital and physical copy of their song at the end of the process.

    Creative Arts Workshops/Studio

    Patients, caregivers, and staff are invited to the Creative Arts Studio in the Blum Resource Center to explore how expressive arts can provide valuable coping skills to give you energy and reduce anxiety.
    Register for Creative Arts workshops

    Zakim's Art Cart

    The Art Cart is a mobile art program that offers art materials and activities to patients, family, and caregivers in the waiting areas of treatment floors. The Art Cart offers relaxation, self-expression, and stress management options for patients and families during the waiting and treatment experience.