The efficacy of art therapy in psychiatric patients

Olga Padała, Adrianna Krupa, Maciej Putowski, Michał Konopelko, Ewa Piasek


Introduction: Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses art media as its primary mode of expression and communication and enables individuals to use art to creatively express themselves. Art therapy is used to improve cognitive and sensorimotor functions, foster self-esteem and self-awareness, cultivate emotional resilience, promote insight, enhance social skills, reduce and resolve conflicts and distress.
Purpose: The purpose of the review is to present the different uses of art therapy in psychiatric patients.
State of knowledge: National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence identifies that arts therapies, including art therapy or art psychotherapy, dance movement therapy, body psychotherapy, drama therapy and music therapy, are considered to improve negative symptoms of psychosis. Improved social skills are likely to be associated with increases in prosocial behaviours. Art therapy interventions are effective in reducing trauma symptom severity and anxiety in traumatized adults. Art and music therapy programs were effective in reducing the degree of depression.
Summary: Art therapy is a part of therapy in many psychiatric diseases, including depressive disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder and psychotic disorders. Although the effectiveness of art therapy has been confirmed by some studies, this topic should still be investigated so that art therapy can become more effective and available for bigger group of patients.


art therapy; PTSD; depression; psychotic disorder; schizophrenia

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