- Social Inclusion - Asylum Seekers
- Health - Cancer Patients
- Health - Adolescent Psychology
- Youth - Schools TTT
Type of mission
Clinical programmes: art therapy and music therapy
In Belgium, like in most developed countries, cancer is a serious disease whose incidence on the general population is very important. In 2015, 67,087 new cancer diagnoses were registered in Belgium and about one in three men and one in four women will be affected by the disease before their 75th birthday.
While the bulk of cancer care remains the quality of medical treatment, it is equally important that patients, during their illness, feel good about themselves and their minds.
Cancer is a very stressful disease that can pose a wide range of challenges, including lifestyle changes, interpersonal tensions, existential crises, and social isolation. It is therefore very important that patients have adequate psychological and emotional support.
The Red Pencil collaborates with the King Albert II Institute, which is part of the Saint-Luc University Hospital. The Institute is the clinics’ cancer centre: it provides comprehensive and multidisciplinary care for patients. It is recognized for its expertise and the quality of its treatments.
RPE also collaborates with BOfort – the Brussels Meeting Place for everyone affected by cancer – and Re-source, two places where people can go for a listening ear, relaxation, workshops and gathering information in a homely and casual atmosphere, and whose mission is to improve the quality of life of patients and those around them in order to live better with cancer.
- The beneficiaries are outpatients who undergo cancer treatment at the Institute, at any stage of the treatment.
- Cancer is often experienced as a rupture, an intense existential experience. It upsets one’s personal and professional spheres, it disrupts one’s social, emotional and family life, it transforms one’s relationship to oneself, one’s changing body, one’s entourage and to the world in general.
- Cancer patients generally suffer from high anxiety, which is accompanied by phases of anger and feeling of injustice (“why me?"). The fear of dying and giving up others is very present. For some it is also a time to come back and look back at their existence. Many patients also describe a feeling of isolation, great loneliness in the crossing of the disease, and the fact that their families and friends may have a hard time understanding what they are going through, which can generate melancholy, depression and relationship difficulties. The image of self is impaired, particularly the feminine part for breast cancer patients. Some patients even feel guilty of this situation. Psychic suffering is then added to the decrease in quality of life already induced by the disease and its heavy treatments.
The objectives of the mission focus on encouraging participants to express themselves and find coping mechanisms through art making in order:
- to relieve stress and somatic tensions
- to express, accept, regulate and possibly transform emotions to offer new perspectives, instilling hope and connect to creativity
- to strengthen one’s sentiment of existence and self-knowledge
- to create meaning about the disease and integrate it into a personal narrative
Examples of proposed activities
- Using clay, modelling a place where you feel safe
- Make a collage of “what is present inside you”
- Draw your breath
- Make a visual poem
- Approach difficult emotions through tenderness and compassion
- Draw a difficult emotion and transform it
- Connection to the body through vibration and movement (voice, drum and crystal bowl)
- Connection to one’s voice: singing vowels, spontaneous singing, yoga of sound
- Connection to the group: spontaneous and intuitive chants by connecting to the energy of the group. “Acapella" songs or with drum support.
Type of mission
Adolescence is a critical phase in human development, and for some teens this transition presents difficulties that require specific intervention.
The Adolescents Unit at Erasme Hospital welcomes patients between 13 and 18 years of age with mental distress, such as an eating disorder, a school phobia, depression or the like which prevents them from functioning normally in their external environment. The Unit can accommodate 20 adolescents. They stay there for a period of approximately 6 weeks.
The Therapeutic Center for Adolescents of St-Luc Hospital has a capacity of 20 teens too. The teens stay there for a period of 6 to 9 months.
Adolescent Unit, University Hospital Erasme
Therapeutic Center for Adolescent, St-Luc University Hospital
The Red Pencil project complements the support offered by the multidisciplinary team which includes a psychiatrist, nurses, specialized educators, psychologists (individual and family), occupational therapist and physiotherapist.
The programme was built to address the emotional and social needs of the beneficiaries: the need to increase their internal security, build self-confidence, step back and consider new ways to progress.
The overall objectives of the program are to provide participants with an opportunity to:
- relax, connect with yourself
- create links with others
- let emerge what needs to be expressed
- support a personal creative expression
- boost self-esteem
Type of mission
Pilot programme of 2 days training
In many schools, the school management and the teachers are confronted to pupils who have to deal with aspects such as fear of failure, social and economic difficulties, cultural adaptation. This can lead to conflicts in the class, some time to bullying and might cause extra stress to the teachers.
The Red Pencil project is part of a continuing education for the school management and teachers, with a focus on topics such as conflict prevention and harassment, and self-care techniques.
Two schools hosted the pilot project : the Sint Jozefschool and the Sint Vincentiusschool, both primary schools in Brussels.
Both schools were interested in counseling through art therapy, in order to cope better with this stress, to guide the children in their growth process and to teach them how to deal with a multitude of feelings when confronted to difficult situations such as conflict and bullying.
Sint Jozefschool and the Sint Vincentiusschool, both primary schools in Brussels
10 participants. Teachers or members of the school administration, teachers from the elementary section (children aged between 6 and 12y) and pre-schools teachers (children aged from 3 to 5y).
The content of the program was built to reflect the demand expressed by the teachers, that is, have additional tools to inform, prevent and resolve conflicts in the classroom and the playground, to detect possible cases of harassment and also to take care of oneself as an education professional.
Our work here
Number of missions:
Long-term ongoing partnerships focusing on 3 sectors: social inclusion, health, youth.
Global impact in Belgium (projected):
Social inclusion : 500 beneficiaries (asylum seekers) over a 3-year period
Health: 200 beneficiaries over a 3-year period
Youth: 100 teachers over a 2-year period
Social inclusion: Fedasil, The Red Cross – Belgium
Health: King Albert II Institute (Saint-Luc University Hospital), BOFort, Erasme University Hospitals, Therapeutic Center for Adolescents (CThA), Re-source Chirec Delta Center
Clinical sessions and Train-The-Teachers programmes
For further information on these programmes, please contact email@example.com