At Dignity Health – California Hospital Medical Center (CHMC), volunteers have the unique opportunity to utilize art therapy to help patients through their healing process.
Art has the unique ability to draw us in and spark our imaginations by stimulating our minds and calming our moods. In a clinical setting, art therapy can have a significant impact on patient recovery, specifically reducing cortisol (stress hormone) and enhancing endorphins (“feel-good” hormones).
One particular volunteer, 20-year old Sophia Pei, a pre-medical student at the University of Southern California (USC), spends time at CHMC spreading kindness and bringing smiles to patients.
Although volunteering was put on hold during the heights of the pandemic, Sophia has returned to CHMC to harness her passion for painting and drawing, as she knows it can help patients feel better.
“Many patients do not have family members or visitors at this time, and being alone can make feeling better harder,” shares Sophia.
Sophia leads the art therapy session by painting and coloring with each patient that she meets. Many times, the patients draw or paint their own artwork, and the two exchange works.
“The collaborative art projects often distract the patients from the pain and stress they are going through.”
“The importance of having art therapy in a healthcare setting is remarkable, since it offers our patients a unique experience during their healing journey, says Alina Moran, CHMC President.
The Art Therapy Program allows our patients to bond and interact with volunteers, such as Sophia, in a soothing environment.