Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas
Can’t find it?
A - Z index

Child Life Services
Expressive Therapies

Each of the three expressive therapies offered at Dell Children's Medical Center help children cope with their hospitalization.

Some of the key goals addressed are:

  • Self-expression
  • Normalization of the hospital environment
  • Pain management
  • Providing opportunities for control
  • Processing diagnosis
  • Self-esteem building
  • Building coping skills
  • Stress/anxiety reduction


What is Art Therapy?
Art therapy is a service provided to patients and their families to encourage expression of thoughts and feelings through artmaking. This service is facilitated by a registered art therapist.

What does the art therapist do?
The art therapist on staff offers a wide variety of art materials for patients and families to explore, including but not limited to:

  • Model Magic
  • Paint (watercolors, acrylic)
  • Drawing Materials (watercolor pencils, oil pastels, markers, black "scratch art")
  • Collage and scrapbooking materials
  • Many types of paper (colored construction/cardstock, drawing, watercolor, scrapbook, tissue, etc.)

Children's Art Gallery
In addition to therapeutic art-making, some children benefit from the opportunity to display their artwork. The art therapist maintains a patient art gallery, located on 4 North facing the courtyard. Patients are given the opportunity to submit artwork, with written consent, to the art therapist to be considered for display. Abstract and representational, these works often tell a story, express an emotion, or simply represent an exploration of color and space. Artwork will remain in the gallery for 6 months.


What is Music Therapy?
Music Therapy is a service that provides children with the opportunity to use music as a way to cope with hospitalization. This service is provided by a board-certified music therapist.

What does the music therapist do?
The music therapist on staff involves children in a variety of music experiences including:

  • Instrument playing
  • Singing
  • Music improvisation
  • Movement to music
  • Music games
  • Song writing

The music therapist individually designs each session to meet the child's needs. Sessions can be individual or include family members.

Group Sessions
In addition to in-room visits, the music therapist conducts music groups in the 3 North playroom. Patients, siblings, and parents are invited to attend. The music therapist leads the group in drumming, singing, dancing, and a lot of fun!


What is Play Therapy?
Play therapy gives children the opportunity to express feelings and difficulties to a trained play therapist. Just as adults have the ability to talk about their problems and concerns, children naturally use play to communicate confusion and stress in their world. Through working with a registered play therapist, children can better develop skills to cope with illness and hospitalization.

What does the play therapist do?
The play therapist on staff provides a safe environment for children to express their feelings and gain a sense of control to better cope with medical experiences. Services include:

  • Individual play sessions in the play therapy room
  • Individual play sessions in the patient's room
  • Group and sibling play sessions
  • Parent-child relationship training groups

Art therapy, music therapy, and play therapy sessions can be conducted individually or can involve family members depending on the needs of the child. If you have any questions, please contact the following members of the expressive therapies team:

Contact Info

Elizabeth Hendley,
MA, ATR, Art Therapist:

Jennifer Townsend,
MMT, MT-BC, Music Therapist:

Ann Grassfield,
LPC, RPT, Play Therapist: