What is Art Therapy?
Art Therapy uses the creative process of art making to improve and enhance the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of individuals of all ages. Art Therapists are master’s level mental health professionals that graduate from an accredited Art Therapy Program. They have specialized training in the use of psychology and art making. Children and teens who participate in Art Therapy can find ways to express themselves in ways that may be difficult through traditional methods of therapy. For more information on Art Therapy, visit The American Art Therapy Association (AATA) or The Missouri Art Therapy Association (MATA)
Goals of Art Therapy
At St. Louis Children's Hospital, we use art for non-art goals including but not limited to:
- Addressing kinesthetic and sensory needs (awareness of self in environment, relaxation, or release of tension)
- Support meaning making (exploration of visual imagery and metaphor)
- Promote cognitive engagement (abstract thought processes, planning and sequencing to support problem solving and generalization of daily needs).
Who Receives Art Therapy?
- Art Therapists work as primary therapists within a treatment team, which include doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists, child life specialists, physical, occupational and speech therapists, chaplains, and social workers.
- Art Therapists at St. Louis Children’s Hospital work with patients ages 3 years old/older, in individual sessions or dyads/small groups (which may include siblings, family members, and/or friends, if relevant to the treatment goals of the patient in the hospital setting).
Additional Art Therapy Supported Programs
- St. Louis Children’s Hospital supported camps
- Annual Art Exhibit (ARTSY)
- Friends of Kids with Cancer Art From the Heart
- Art Therapy Practicum (Internship)-GRADUATE LEVEL
St. Louis Children’s Hospital offers an Art Therapy Practicum experience to students enrolled in an American Art Therapy Association (AATA) approved graduate program. Learn more about our Art Therapy Practicum (Internship).
*Students working toward (or who have received) a bachelor’s degree interested in an Art Therapy degree would need to apply for the Art Enrichment Internship (see below).*
- Art Enrichment Internship- BACHELORS LEVEL
St. Louis Children’s Hospital offers an Art Enrichment volunteer internship aimed at providing direct patient experiences with supervision to students enrolled in an undergraduate program (or have completed a bachelor’s degree) who are interested in pursuing a post-graduate master’s degree in art therapy from an accredited Art Therapy program.
Meet our Art Therapists
Daphne Dierkes, ATR LPC
Hem/Onc Art Therapist
Jennifer Bruner, ATR-BC, LPC
Behavioral Health Art Therapist
Julie Gant, ATR-BC, LPC
Expressive Therapies Supervisor & Consult Art Therapist
Anna Olson, ATR-P
PRN Art Therapist