1. Art Therapy and Cancer Care
2. A review
3. FREE Downloadable Art Therapy Exercise

Art Therapy and Cancer Care

Author: Diane Waller and Caryl Sibbett
Date published: 2005
Page length: 248

Art Therapy and Cancer Care

Amazon purchase link: Art Therapy and Cancer Care
Goodreads link: Art Therapy and Cancer Care


Inspired by the experience of art therapists who have pioneered work with people with cancer and including those who have experienced this devastating illness at first hand, this book acknowledges the outstanding work of the Corinne Burton Trust which has supported the development of art therapy services in hospices and clinics throughout the United Kingdom.

Narratives, case studies, new theoretical insights, and the inclusion of writing from Italy, France and the United States of America contribute to the strength and originality of the book. Therapeutic work is placed in its institutional context, demonstrating the importance for the art therapy service of being understood, supported and valued at managerial level – and how the lack of this can impact adversely on patient care. Moreover, many of the contributions have a sociological and anthropological nature, which gives the book a unique and challenging dimension.

Art Therapy and Cancer Care is key reading for art therapists, artists in health care and other health or social care professionals who are looking for approaches that will improve the quality of living for cancer patients, yet not shy away from the process of dying.

The contributors: Jacqui Balloqui, Maureen Bocking, Timothy Duesbury, Ken Evans, Cinzia Favara-Scacco, Barry Falk, Elizabeth Goll Lerner, David Hardy, Kathryn Horn Coneway, Paola Luzzatto, Caryl Sibbett, Elizabeth Stone Matho, Michele Wood, Diane Waller.

The editors:

  • Diane Waller is Professor of Art Psychotherapy and Director of Programmes in Group and Intercultural Therapy at Goldsmiths College, University of London.
  • Caryl Sibbett is Lecturer in the Graduate School of Education, Queen’s University, Belfast, where she is Director of the MSc Art Therapy course.



1. On death and dying – Ken Evans
2. ‘Betwixt and between’: crossing thresholds – Caryl Sibbett
3. Body image and the construction of identity – Ken Evans
4. Liminal embodiment: embodied and sensory experience in cancer care and art therapy – Caryl Sibbett
5. Shoreline: the realities of working in cancer and palliative care – Michèle Wood
6. A woman with breast cancer in art therapy – Elizabeth Stone Matho
7. Art therapy as Perseus’ shield for children with cancer – Cinzia Favara-Scacco
8. The efficacy of a single session – Jacqui Balloqui
9. Art therapy with a late adolescent cancer patient: reflections on adolescent development, separation and individuation, and identity form – Kathryn Horn Coneway
10. The Healing Journey: a ten-week group focusing on long-term healing processes – Elizabeth Goll Lerner
11. Musing with death in group art therapy with cancer patients – Paola Luzzatto
12. Fear of annihilation: defensive strategies used within art therapy groups and organizations for cancer patients – Barry Falk
13. Creating through loss: how art therapists sustain their practice in palliative care – David Hardy
14. Art therapy in the hospice: rewards and frustrations – Timothy Duesbury
15. A ‘don’t know’ story: art therapy in an NHS medical oncology department – Maureen Bocking
16. An art therapist’s experience of having cancer: living and dying with the tiger – Caryl SibbettV


This book is part of a 12 part series of books that focuses on death, with a focus on palliative care. As the title at the top of the book cover shows, the series is called Facing Death.

This book provides a distinct advantage of including various authors to gain an even broader scope of experience of using art therapy in cancer care situations. This experience also extends to where art therapists undertake this important work including oncology units, hospices, palliative care services, and the patient’s home.

The book also explains the unique position of the art therapist who plays an important part in working with the client without directly treating the physiological component of cancer. The art therapist becomes part of an integrated approach for the treatment of the patient and often has to work in conjunction with medical and other psychological treatment approaches.

Additionally, the art therapist works with the client to cope with the direct impact of a cancer diagnosis as well as the impact of coping with various treatment approaches. To further complicate this process, the patient may be undertaking the difficult process of facing their mortality and the various aspects their death has on themselves and their loved ones.

It is an incredibly complicated process given all of the variables involved. This book helps the art therapist navigate through these variables with the hope of providing valuable care to their client.

For further reading on working with clients with cancer, you might like to read our previous blog post: The Benefits of Art Therapy for Cancer Patients.

Purchase: If this book sounds interesting to you, it can be purchased from Amazon. You can also view the contents pages and a few of the introductory chapters in the sample. Amazon purchase link:

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Book Review: Art Therapy and Cancer Care

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