Next week I am facilitating in person and virtually the SCANxiety workshop I developed, which uses art therapy to tame the beast. Someone who was interested commented while they did not fear the results from scan, they do experience claustrophobia. They wondered if my techniques could help in that situation.

The short answer is yes, as art is a powerful way to process any phobia or fear that arises, because it allows you to take that energy and get it out onto paper. After all, the monsters in your head always become more manageable when you shine light on them.

AND this question also illuminated the very important point that SCANxiety comes in many shapes and sizes. Perhaps this person has always struggled with claustrophobia, but either way being fearful of going into the scanner is one way that people experience scanxiety.

In the workshop, you’ll have the chance to work with how scanxiety specifically shows up for you. We’ll talk about the causes of scanxiety and why the brain is not always our friend when it comes to processing scanxiety.

The goal of using art is to help the brain be able to neutralize components of the scan experience that were not responsible for the danger cancer brought to your life. Additionally, when you allow yourself to process visually what has happened to you, you allow your psyche to discharge some of the energy that it has trapped inside.

Helping your brain and psyche through art will never fully remove the impact of SCANxiety, but it will assist you in moving through it. Think of it like removing obstacles that have caused a dam in a river. When you do that, it removes the incredible build-up of tension and allows the river to flow naturally once again. After all, Jon Kabat Zinn put it best when it comes to our emotions “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf”. Creativity and art function in the same way, and best of all you don’t need to be an artist to benefit from the practice.

Here is a testimonial about the SCANxiety worksop from a prior attendee, who has Stage 4 breast cancer:

“Not until Stephanie McLeod-Estevez’ workshop on “SCANXIETY: Taming the Beast through Art” would I have ever realized Creativity– the spark of one kind or another that’s in everyone– could be as powerful in treating the mind, body & heart of those w/ cancer as medication, radiation, meditation, support groups, therapy & even faith in God. Through Creative Transformations, Stephanie showed how to process traumatic memories & ongoing fears we choose not to deal with by putting them on paper. To express what’s going on inside of me. What does the SCANxiety Beast look like? What kind of things does the monster say to me? What do I want to say back? Very empowering workshop, very cleansing & freeing. Thank you Stephanie!”

I’d love to have you join me next week, whether it’s at one of the in person workshops in Scarborough, Maine or virtually through Zoom. You can learn more and register by clicking this link. If those times do not fit into your schedule, fill out the contact form and request to be added to the waitlist.

-Stephanie McLeod-Estevez, LCPC, is an art therapist and breast cancer survivor, and a former oncology counselor at the Dempsey Center. She began Creative Transformations to help others who are healing emotionally from cancer. Through Creative Transformations, she works with people in person and online to offer the self assessment toolcancer coaching, an Art as Therapy program,virtual workshops, and this weekly blog. Sign up today so you never miss a blog and find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.