News & Stories
Cooper Introduces New Art and Music Therapy Programs
For children diagnosed with an illness or admitted to a hospital, the experience can be frightening and confusing. Often patients need an outlet to express their thoughts and emotions. Now thanks to grants from the Johnny M Foundation and The Jessica Falcone Memorial Foundation, and a generous donation from Aldoph Piperno of AC Moore, pediatric patients will benefit from art and music therapy through the Child Life Program at the Children’s Regional Hospital at Cooper.
Elizabeth King, Art Therapist, and Carli Barolin, Music Therapist, who both began working at Cooper in May, shared their background and goals for the Art and Music Therapy Programs with The Cooper Foundation.
Describe your background. Where did you go school? What did you study?
Elizabeth King: I earned my Bachelor of Science from the University of Georgia in Psychology with a minor in Child & Family Development while studying Studio Art. After becoming interested in art therapy, I moved to Philadelphia to study at Drexel University where I earned a master’s degree in Creative Arts in Therapy: Art Therapy.
Carli Barolin: I graduated from Montclair State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Music Therapy and a concentration in Voice. I am a board certified music therapist and a certified neurologic music therapist.
Where did you work previously?
EK: I have worked in a variety of clinical settings including schools, medical hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, outpatient counseling centers, and for nonprofit organizations. I also work in private practice as a psychotherapist.
CB: Prior to working at Cooper, I worked for two years at Seasons Hospice in Delaware in which I worked with patients ranging from 20-100 years of age and their families for pre-bereavement and bereavement support. I also currently work as a music therapist with University of Pennsylvania, Home Care and Hospice on a PRN basis.
What is Art Therapy?
EK: Art Therapy is a mental health field where art is used in a therapeutic way within a professional relationship. In art therapy, an art therapist facilitates the use of art media, the creative process, and the resulting artwork to explore clients’ feelings and symptoms, resolve conflicts, increase awareness, manage behavior, develop social skills, and increase self-esteem.
What is Music Therapy?
CB: Music Therapy is an essential health care profession in which music is used within a therapeutic relationship to address physical, emotional, cognitive and social needs of individual using treatment interventions such as creating, improving, song writing, music and imagery, singing, moving to music and receptive music listening. Neurologic MT specializes in the use of music with those suffering from brain trauma, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and other neurologic disabilities.
What are your goals for the Art Therapy program at Cooper?
EK: Art therapy will help children and their families cope with illness, stress and trauma, become more self-aware, improve cognition, and simply enjoy the process of making art. In the future, I would like to see art therapy offered on other units in the hospital, such as oncology, psychiatry, etc. Hospitalized people can use art therapy to reduce stress, for pain management, emotional support, and to decrease anxiety related to being hospitalized.
What are your goals for the Music Therapy program at Cooper?
CB: I hope that I am able to teach and advocate the many benefits of music therapy to all of the various disciplines and care Cooper provides. I want to be able to really make a difference in a patient’s hospital stay by providing the kind of comfort and healing that will create a more positive experience for an event that can typically be scary and stressful.
How did you hope Art Therapy will help pediatric patients?
EK: It is my hope that pediatric patients and their families will feel even better cared for when they come to Cooper. Art therapy offers unique ways to connect with children because of its creative process and visual nature. Art therapy will help Cooper pediatric patients by providing them an opportunity for communication, expression of their feelings about illness and hospitalization, to help them understand illness in a new way, to process traumatic events leading to hospitalization, to promote healthy self-esteem, and to increase their feelings of independence.
How did you hope Music Therapy will help pediatric patients?
CB: I hope that music therapy can help provide some meaning and comfort to children, while reducing fear and anxiety during their stay in the hospital. I also hope that it can create a more positive experience and facilitate the reconnection of a parent to a child whose injuries may mean severe limitations and challenges for the rest of their life. Music therapy will provide a means of communication; verbal and non-verbal, increased cognitive and physical stimulation, emotional and spiritual comfort and opportunities for creative self-expression in a non-threatening way.
To support the new Child Life programs at the Children’s Regional Hospital at Cooper, visit foundation.cooperhealth.org/give-now and designate your gift to Art Therapy for Children or Music Therapy for Children.