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Finding Healing through Art

Classes and Support Groups

UKIAH, CA—Ukiah Valley Medical Center (UVMC) is now offering complimentary group art therapy sessions as part of the hospital’s Cancer Treatment and Infusion Center’s Focus on Healing program. The sessions are facilitated by Sue Sweet, Marriage & Family Therapist and Registered Art Therapist, and made possible by a substantial grant provided by the T.R. Eriksen Foundation, a private foundation established as a charitable trust in 2000 whose primary purpose is to provide financial support to those who work in the field of human services.

In accordance with the hospital’s philosophy of patient-centered care that focuses on the whole person – mind, emotions and body, and in response to feedback from patients who requested more support after treatment, this alternative therapy continues to advance UVMC’s commitment to the Focus on Healing Program which offers art, music, movement and other healing modalities, in addition to advanced medical treatment for patients with cancer.

Sweet is a cancer survivor who continues to use art therapy as a tool in her own healing journey. She previously introduced art therapy combined with other evidence-based practices to the Cancer Resource Centers of Mendocino County and in 2014 she introduced it to UVMC.

Group art therapy provides an avenue to explore one’s unique but often universal experiences with coping with cancer and other serious illnesses.  Art therapy is effective in reducing stress, assisting in exploration and expression of thoughts and feelings, developing creativity and strategies for increasing feelings of well-being. 

“The beauty of group work is we are more alike than we are different, and when people come together and express universal truths, it heals everyone who is part of the process. Because of that it can be more profound than individual therapy,” says Sweet.

Individuals who are newly diagnosed, currently in treatment and in post treatment and those who have other serious illnesses that might benefit from this therapy are welcome to participate in classes.  The maximum capacity of each class is 10 individuals per session. 

Participants must be pre-registered for the first session that runs from Friday, January 22nd through Friday, March 11th from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Classes will take place at the Art Therapy Institute of the Redwoods, a space provided by Linda Chapman, ATR-BC. There is a nominal $8 sliding scale fee for art materials. No artistic skill necessary. For further information or registration contact Sue Sweet, MFT-ATR at (707) 671-5122 or

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Ukiah Valley Medical Center is part of Adventist Health, a faith-based, nonprofit integrated health system serving more than 75 communities in California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington. Our workforce of 31,000 includes more than 22,350 employees; 4,800 medical staff physicians; and 3,850 volunteers. Founded on Seventh-day Adventist heritage and values, Adventist Health provides compassionate care in 20 hospitals, more than 275 clinics (hospital-based, rural health and physician clinics), 15 home care agencies, seven hospice agencies and four joint-venture retirement centers. Adventist Health ranked #10 in Becker's list of the largest nonprofit hospital systems in the U.S. for 2015.  Visit  for more information.