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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2014, Article ID 789852, 7 pages
Review Article

Transforming Pain into Beauty: On Art, Healing, and Care for the Spirit

Division of Oncology, Rambam Health Care Campus, 8 Ha’Aliyah Street, 35254 Haifa , Israel

Received 4 December 2013; Revised 12 March 2014; Accepted 29 March 2014; Published 16 April 2014

Academic Editor: Arndt Büssing

Copyright © 2014 Rachel Ettun et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


From drawing to sculpture, poetry to journaling, and dance to music and song, the arts can have a major impact on patients’ spiritual well-being and health. The arts empower patients to fulfill the basic human drive to create and give patients a sense of possibility. Through creative expression, patients regain a feeling of wholeness, individually and as part of the larger world. Although spiritual caregivers have made occasional use of the arts, it would be better for the arts to be seen as a pillar of spiritual care provision. This paper provides a model for arts-based spiritual care (chaplaincy) in oncology/hematology and elsewhere. We discuss how to match the art form intervention to the individual patient and give examples of many kinds of uniquely spiritual arts-based interventions. In life, there are occasional “caseuras,” or ruptures. Using a theoretical foundation drawn from theologian Michael Fishbane, our model of arts-based spiritual care bridges the experience of the caesura to a renewed sense of meaning, or spiritual reorientation, that can be discovered within the reality of illness. Additionally, the ambiguity and playfulness inherent to creative expression strengthen the patient’s flexibility and resilience.