Alessandra Colfi, Ph.D.(c)



EXT with cancer Patients


"Dealing with the inherent beauty of materials and their unfailing reliability can involve us in a deeply healing process"                  
Joan M. Erikson
Title Content Introduction Why a web-based Dissertation
Review of  Literature on Empathy
Story Telling Cancer Patients Developmentally Disabled     Bibliography


February 22, 2010

"The creative process involved in the making of art is healing and life enhancing"

~ American Art therapy Association, Mission Statement

Empathy and Cancer Patients

I owe to cancer patients my new professional and personal direction; I walked alongside them as my life was falling apart, except my health stayed strong throughout, and probably thanks to them!

I am deliberately referring to and including authentic and meaningful content and patients' responses generated during actual Expressive Arts Therapy processes with cancer patients.


The empathic relationship between the artist and his/her creative expression is assumed encouraging and fostering the ability to establish empathy among people and therefore reach into relationship within communities and among diverse communities, such as states, countries.


The premise for this assumption is that self-exploration and introspection allow for greater knowing of oneself, better understanding, which leads to becoming more empathic towards others. ‘If I am aware of my feelings and the unconscious attitudes through which I view the world, I am more likely to be sensitive to others.’ (Shaun McNiff, 1992). Shaun McNiff calls it ‘sympathy’; sympathy is defined as the ability to enter into, understand, or share somebody else's feelings; while empathy shares the same meaning, it adds the attribution of feelings to an object: the transfer of somebody's own feelings and emotions to an object such as a painting – this is the instance when art ‘moves’ a person emotionally. In the Greek empatheia "affection, passion".





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