Art Therapy

Art Therapy is an integrative mental health profession that enriches the lives of individuals, families, and communities through the clinical, evidence-based application of art and creative processes within a therapeutic relationship (American Art Therapy Association, 2017).

At Texas Children’s Hospital, our Art Therapy Program uses the expressive power of art to support the social, emotional, psychological, physical, and developmental needs of children and their families throughout hospitalization.

We recognize the value of art in helping children cope and adjust to their hospital experience, from a new diagnosis to medical treatment. As art naturally connects to how children relate and communicate about their world, the modality can provide a safe, developmentally sensitive way for children to navigate the world of the hospital.

From painting to collage, art therapy offers creative tools and interventions that aim to achieve the following goals:

  • Provide opportunities for creativity and self-expression
  • Promote relaxation and pain management
  • Increase positive self-esteem and resilience
  • Develop healthy problem-solving and adaptive skills
  • Foster peer support and a sense of community in the medical environment
  • Decrease stress and anxiety related to illness experience
  • Improve cognitive and sensory-motor functions
  • Facilitate legacy building and memory making

Art Therapy Services

Group and individual art therapy sessions are provided to various inpatient units and populations throughout Texas Children’s Hospital, including:

  • Cardiac Patient Care Unit
  • Child Protective Services
  • Heart Failure Intensive Care Unit
  • Hospice and Palliative Care Medicine
  • Pulmonary Medicine Inpatient Unit
  • Individual consults/referrals as available

Meet our Art Therapist

Ashley Wood, MA, ATR-BC, CIMI joined the Texas Children’s Creative and Therapeutic Arts team as an Art Therapist in 2018. Ashley is a Registered, Board Certified Art Therapist and Certified Infant Massage Instructor. She completed her Master’s degree in Art Therapy from New York University, after she obtained her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Louisiana State University with minors in Psychology and Art History. Ashley has worked extensively with individuals to address issues related to acute and chronic illness, developmental disabilities, family bonding, grief and bereavement, and trauma. Her approach to art therapy is person-centered and strength-based, and she is passionate about helping children and families discover unique ways of using art to express, cope, and heal during their healthcare experience.

Ashley currently serves patients within Cardiology, Child Protective Services, Palliative Care, and Pulmonary Medicine.


Learn more about Art Therapy