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Arts for Healing

Arts for Healing programs at Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital offer creative expression to children, teens and young adults through daily group activities and bedside sessions with our team of professional artists, and art and music therapists. Through the creative process patients increase self-expression, develop skills that support resilience and discover additional ways to cope with pain, isolation or anxiety that support healing. Please ask Child Life about the activities available.

Our program, invites young people to have fun turning their imagination and everyday experiences into art, video, digital art, music, rap, poetry and more during their hospital stay. Each expression captures a moment along their journey. Artists and therapists individualize their sessions for each person's needs and inspire a journey of self-discovery, self-expression and communication.

Creating and showcasing art in the hospital helps to build community. The shared experience of art making encourages relationships and fosters connection. With permission, patient work may be shared through exhibits and performances or in print.

Request a session with an artist: [email protected]

Our Programs

Art Therapy offers a non-verbal process for expression and self-discovery through digital art, virtual reality and traditional art materials. Technology-based, digital art therapy builds on digital literacy to provide skills for self-reflection, emotion regulation, problem solving and increased communication. Digital art therapy is offered to children and teens entering our Pediatric Emergency Department in mental health crisis.  It is effective in helping regain control, express feelings and improve receptivity to treatment.

Daily Activities support patients and their families, easing the stress of the hospital experience and allows families to enjoy time together away from the medical routine.  Patients that are unable to attend groups are offered similar activities in their room.

Adolescent and Young Adult Group Programs offer unique options for creative expression with a focus on creative technologies such as virtual reality, digital art, audio and video recording. Teens and young adults connect with peers in the Lauren Telesz / Smilow Teen Center to express their shared experiences. 

Digital Storytelling in which young people learn about multimedia production and explore all phases of video making as a tool for self-expression.

Music Therapy supports healing through singing, music play, improvisation, songwriting and music-assisted imagery that address the emotional and developmental needs of individuals of all ages.

Neonatal Music Therapy adapts live music to provide gentle stimulation for growth and development, or soothing sounds to comfort our most fragile infants and support the parent-child relationship.

Poetry and Spoken Word encourages children, teens and young adults to give voice to their feelings and their world, including their healthcare experience.

Story Time turns children’s literature into interactive and educational experiences using songs, chants and art. Bedside stories are offered to young children unable to attend groups.

Creative Self-Care Events and Workshops for Caregivers provide shared experiences through art expression that create dialogue, promote well-being and foster connection within our hospital community.

Arts for Healing collaborates with community organizations to enhance our programs.

Hole in the Wall Gang Camp Hospital Outreach Program brings the joy of camp activities to the hospital setting through recreational and fun activities designed to build positive self-esteem.

Arts for Healing programs are made possible solely through donations. Your support is essential to our work. Please consider making a contribution.

View works of art by patients on the Arts for Healing album on Yale New Haven Children's Hospital Facebook page.


Amaodo's Story

Amaodo, age 17, had a history of asthma, so the trouble she was having with her breathing didn't alarm her—at first. But last fall, when the symptoms became worse, she went to her doctor. She was diagnosed with a rare disorder that causes weakness of the skeletal muscles.

Read Amaodo's story
framing our feelings

Framing Our Feelings

Digital Art & Photography Therapy

Arts for Healing worked with young patients to creatively express themselves through photography and digital art to capture moments in time to represent their emotions. The patients also designed frames to apply to these snapshots.

Watch the video
Arts for Healing

Video: Arts for Healing

Artists and therapists from Child Life’s Arts for Healing program engage children and families in art-making activities that create community, reflecting the breadth of multi-disciplinary expression offered by the program. 

Watch Video
telling our stories

Video: Telling our Stories

Young people in the Arts for Healing program tell the stories of their journeys through creative writing, spoken word, music, digital art, video, virtual reality and the interplay of these art forms.

Watch the video

View Exhibit of Patient Work