Experiencing or making art, whether visual or musical, can help patients feel more relaxed, support pain management, improve sleep, and provide valuable coping skills. The Zakim Center's expressive arts therapists provide several offerings tailored to patient treatment goals.
Individual Expressive Arts Therapy Sessions
Music and art therapists are trained to use the arts as a clinical tool to serve treatment goals related to stress, coping, sleep, connection to family, and quality of life. Evidence shows that expressive arts therapies can improve quality of life regardless of treatment status or disease progression. Like talk therapy, your board-certified expressive arts therapist will engage in evidence-based practices, facilitate supportive discussion, and work with you 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.
Our expressive arts therapy programs are offered free of charge and are designed for patients and families with a diverse range of experiences, interests, and needs. Music therapy is available to all patients. Currently, art therapy is available for select patients. For more information, please contact the Zakim Center at Zakim_center@dfci.harvard.edu to schedule a consultation.
A music therapy session may involve music listening, discussion, or music making. The therapist may guide patients through music listening with relaxation strategies, making music through songwriting or playing an instrument, or other creative experiences. The therapist may also share different ways you can use music and creativity in your own time to support your treatment goals.
In this judgment-free zone, patients will have the opportunity to choose from a variety of art-making materials. The art therapist will work with patients, providing a space that meets the patient and their needs on that given day. The art therapist will guide the patient through the art-making process, listen to your personal goals, and hold space for relaxation, reflection, and meaning making.
Expressive Arts Groups
The Zakim Center currently offers several expressive arts groups to support patient goals. Groups are always free of charge. For more information about current offerings, please visit https://myzakim.dana-farber.org/.
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. 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. For more information, please contact the Zakim Center directly.
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.