Recently, psychiatric experts reviewed 18 different studies on art therapy, discovering that both patients and therapists view this type of treatment as highly effective and meaningful. According to an article published by Psychiatric Advisor, art and other expressive therapies are also helpful for people with advanced cases of psychosis and schizophrenia.

Using Art as Therapy

Susan Dingsor, an art therapist working in Pennsylvania in the United States, explains the difference between art in therapy and art as therapy. Sometimes, counsellors or psychologists may use a bit of art expression during their talks with patients; and that would be considered art in therapy. However, art therapy is different. It isn’t inserted into a session; instead, the session is all about the art and expression.

Art therapy is beneficial because of the process. When someone makes a piece of art, he is accessing the creative part of the brain, getting physically involved with the materials, working to make something completely new and unique to him. Feelings are often birthed through images or shapes, and the art becomes significant to its maker and to the therapist.

Opening Communication

During a session, therapist Susan Dingsor often communicates with her patient about the piece. “I ask open-ended, nonjudgmental questions, which encourages the person to talk about feelings, but it is done through talking about the art, which can be less threatening,” she says.

Encouraging Empathy

Psychopaths and sociopaths often have difficulty relating to the emotions of others, showing empathy, and understanding the effects of their actions on other people. Someone with psychosis may struggled with confused thoughts and cognitive difficulties. Through expressive therapies like art therapy, these individuals can gain emotional insight and learn to comprehend emotion better.

Creating Personal Connections

Dr. Sheila Lorenzo de la Peña works at a state hospital that houses psychiatric patients. “Some clients with delusions or other forms of active psychosis tend to avoid groups,” she explains. “Depending on how the talk therapy is progressing, I might incorporate art as a form of relaxing or building rapport.”

At one point, she dealt with a man suffering from active psychosis. She greeted him warmly every day, even though he did not want to attend group therapy. Finally he started coming to the sessions, where he became “comfortable in the space with art materials and peers,” according to Dr. de la Peña. He even began to describe some of his active delusions. “He participated, stayed in group without arguments and fights, and was even able to smile every once in a while.”

Art therapy can benefit someone who is completely non-verbal, like another of Dr. de la Peña’s patients. This woman was catatonic, never speaking and barely able to move. However, she was able to participate in art therapy along with everyone else, and it proved beneficial for her condition.

Finding Art Therapy in Singapore

At Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic, we believe in art therapy as a valuable venue for communication and expression. We offer art therapy along with our other treatment options such as EMDR, hypnotherapy, and talk therapy. If you or someone you know can benefit from this type of treatment, please contact our team, and we’ll be happy to set up a consultation with one of our experienced psychiatrists in Singapore.

News Feed from Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic

Source: Psychiatry Advisor, 9 January 2017