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Pediatr Nurs. 2005 Nov-Dec;31(6):480-5.

Communicating via expressive arts: the natural medium of self-expression for hospitalized children.

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The Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.


The study was undertaken at a play therapy unit in a Swedish hospital. The purpose was directed toward investigating what takes place during play therapy when children were given the opportunity to use expressive arts such as clay, paint, and/or textile, and the meaning children input into their art objects. The study describes an approach to working with hospitalized children when they visited the play therapy unit. During a three-year period, hospitalized children (n=22) participated in the study. The assumption was that given the opportunity to express themselves freely by using a variety of expressive arts, children will tell what they express in their art works. It might mirror their thoughts and feelings of being hospitalized. The result of the qualitative analyzes generated the themes fear, longing, and powerlessness. The results also showed that expressive arts were a medium for communication. Expressive arts should be used as a tool to help the child express her/himself when being hospitalized.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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