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Complementary & Art Therapy

Complementary Therapy

We have a team of qualified, experienced complementary therapists, led by our Complementary Therapy Coordinator. Several of the team visit the In-Patient Unit during the week and offer massage, aromatherapy, reflexology, Reiki, Indian head massage and relaxation to patients and their relatives.

Therapy sessions can last for 15-45 minutes, depending on how well the patient is.

The principal aims of complementary therapy at Isabel Hospice are to:

  • Promote relaxation.
  • Help relieve stress-related symptoms such as anxiety, pain, muscle tension, poor sleep patterns, low spirits and also improve general wellbeing.
  • Introduce patients, carers and bereaved clients to complementary therapies in an informed and appropriate way.
  • Introduce interested patients, carers and bereaved clients to aspects of self-help related to complementary therapies.

Art Therapy

When someone is diagnosed with a life-limiting illness they may experience difficult feelings and need some support to enable them to adjust. Patients and families may find it difficult to talk about their feelings to each other. We have volunteer run craft sessions at the In-Patient Unit and the Day Service day service.


So what is Art Therapy and how does it differ from art and craft based sessions, which may be therapeutic through encouraging creative activity, resulting in beautiful objects and images?

Art Therapy is not about artistic ability and you do not have to be good at art to benefit from it. The therapist encourages an open experimental approach to creativity, suggesting ‘try something new and see what happens’ in response to the oft stated fear, ‘I’m not artistic, I can’t draw a straight line’.

Through the use of art materials within a therapeutic relationship, thoughts and feelings that may be too intense or painful to put into words can be expressed. Paying attention to these feelings often helps patients and family members to realize that they can gain some control and strength to cope with major changes in their lives.

The resulting images and objects may be raw, unfinished or playful. The person taking part and the therapist explore the personal meanings for each individual of their work, during a period of talking or reflection in each session. Their artwork becomes the vehicle for the difficult thoughts and feelings and people often wish to keep the work private, for this reason.

The aim of Art Therapy support at Isabel Hospice is to offer psychological support through creativity and talking to patients across the service and their families both pre-bereaved and bereaved.