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Second Lady Karen Pence supports art therapy in Austin visit

Vice President Mike Pence was in Austin Wednesday for a meeting with other Republican governors. But the vice president didn’t come alone. The vice president's wife -- Karen Pence -- also came to call attention to her pet project: art therapy, and to see how it's being used successfully here at Ascension's Dell Children's Medical Center. (CBS Austin)

Vice President Mike Pence was in Austin Wednesday for a meeting with other Republican governors. But the vice president didn’t come alone. The vice president's wife -- Karen Pence -- also came to call attention to her pet project: art therapy, and to see how it's being used successfully here at Ascension's Dell Children's Medical Center.

It's no surprise Mrs. Pence values art. She's an art teacher by training. But an in-house gallery of art made by patients at Dell Children's was extra special to her. While first lady of Indiana she learned about art therapy, healing through art, and what a hit it was with pediatric patients. She recalls, “I was so surprised to hear there were children asking their parents, 'When do I get to go back to the hospital?' There's something to this."

Wednesday, Mrs. Pence was here in Austin getting the word out that art therapy is serious medicine. She says, “I want people to know this is an option for you. You know if you had gone through a car accident or a difficulty you would go through the other types of therapy. Art therapy is a choice and I don't think people know it's out there."

Six-year-old Chloee knows all about it. She's coloring to express her feelings as she recovers from surgery to remove a brain tumor. Dell Children's says she had not smiled since surgery until she started art therapy.

You'll be hearing more about art therapy from Mrs. Pence. She has a plan to make sure the world knows there's more than arts and crafts going on here. “The first is to elevate the profession so that people understand these are masters and doctorate trained therapists,” she says. “This is a mental health profession."


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