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Article
Publication date: 4 March 2014

Robert A. Bitonte and Marisa De Santo

Art therapy has been recognized as beneficial and effective since first described by Adrian Hill in 1942. Even before this time, art therapy was utilized for moral…

Abstract

Art therapy has been recognized as beneficial and effective since first described by Adrian Hill in 1942. Even before this time, art therapy was utilized for moral reinforcement and psychoanalysis. Art therapy aids patients with, but not limited to, chronic illness, physical challenges, and cancer in both pediatric and adult scenarios. Although effective in patient care, the practice of art therapy is extremely underutilized, especially in suburban areas. While conducting our own study in northeastern Ohio, USA, we found that only one out of the five inpatient institutions in the suburban area of Mahoning County, Ohio, that we contacted provided continuous art therapy to it's patients. In the metropolitan area of Cuyahoga County, Ohio, only eight of the twenty-two inpatient institutions in the area provided art therapy. There could be many reasons as to why art therapy is not frequently used in these areas, and medical institutions in general. The cause of this could be the amount of research done on the practice. Although difficult to conduct formal research on such a broad field, the American Art Therapy Association has succeeded in doing such, with studies showing improvement of the patient groups emotionally and mentally in many case types.

Details

Mental Illness, vol. 6 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2036-7465

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Article
Publication date: 24 May 2013

Sue Holttum

This Research Watch aims to summarise two recent and very different research publications on art therapy and comments on their ability to shed light on the usefulness of…

Abstract

Purpose

This Research Watch aims to summarise two recent and very different research publications on art therapy and comments on their ability to shed light on the usefulness of art therapy to address mental distress and enhance social inclusion.

Design/methodology/approach

The author discusses a recent edition of a UK art therapy journal in which research papers focus on art therapy with people who have been given a diagnosis of personality disorder. The main methodologies are qualitative describing participants’ and/or therapists’ experiences and the role of art therapy in addressing serious mental distress. The second publication is a recent report of a large randomised controlled trial of art therapy for people given a diagnosis of schizophrenia. The author assesses the value of both publications in informing us about the usefulness of art therapy in addressing mental distress and enhancing social inclusion.

Findings

In the author's view, neither publication establishes definitively how or whether art therapy might address serious mental distress, whether labelled personality disorder or schizophrenia. However, the qualitative articles provide insight into possible helpful (and less helpful) aspects of therapy. The randomised trial should have been able to establish general principles about the effectiveness of art therapy for a specific group of people in specified contexts, but instead exemplifies many problems inherent in the pervasive research culture of putting numbers onto complex human interactions and calculating their value for money, sometimes at the expense of really understanding what is going on.

Originality/value

The author draws upon these two very different examples of research to reflect a current dilemma in UK art therapy research, and tentatively looks at possible ways forward.

Details

Mental Health and Social Inclusion, vol. 17 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-8308

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Article
Publication date: 12 February 2018

Sue Holttum

Group art therapy involves art-making, which has been used throughout human history to symbolise struggle and transformation with group support. The purpose of this paper…

Abstract

Purpose

Group art therapy involves art-making, which has been used throughout human history to symbolise struggle and transformation with group support. The purpose of this paper is to discuss two recent papers on how and why group art therapy may be helpful.

Design/methodology/approach

A search was carried out to find recent papers on group art therapy, with a focus on how and why it may be helpful.

Findings

One paper reported on 119 accounts of why group art therapy may be helpful. Five things seemed specific to group art therapy: using artworks to express experiences symbolically, connect with others, place confusing feelings outside oneself, and be playful, and following a set routine with others. The other paper reported in detail on group art therapy sessions with people who had a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder. Group interaction became most supportive when the art therapist clearly focused on people’s thoughts and feelings about artworks made by group members.

Originality/value

It has been unclear how group art therapy may help people. Understanding this means researchers can do more rigorous research on it. The two papers discussed represent probably the largest synthesis of different sources on how group art therapy might work, and the most detailed observation of what happens in practice. Both papers suggest group art therapy uses art to symbolise struggle and transformation with support from others, thus normalising this process and including those going through it rather than marginalising them. Parallels can be drawn with older healing rituals, in which crisis and struggle were viewed as normal.

Details

Mental Health and Social Inclusion, vol. 22 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-8308

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Book part
Publication date: 19 November 2015

Gaelynn P. Wolf Bordonaro, Laura Cherry and Jessica Stallings

The relationship between learning and mental health, as well as a growing body of literature, underscores the need for art therapy in educational settings. This is…

Abstract

The relationship between learning and mental health, as well as a growing body of literature, underscores the need for art therapy in educational settings. This is particularly true for learners with special needs. Shostak et al. (1985) affirmed that “for children with special needs, art therapy in a school setting can offer opportunities to work through obstacles that impede educational success” (p. 19). School art therapy facilitates improved social interaction, increased learning behaviors, appropriate affective development, and increased empathy and personal well-being. It can be adapted to meet the specific developmental needs of individual students and to parallel students’ developmental, learning, and behavioral objectives. This chapter introduces the reader to the history and basic constructs of art therapy as a psychoeducational therapeutic intervention in schools. Model programs are identified, as well as the role of the art therapist within the context of K-12 education settings. Additionally, examples of special populations who benefit from art therapy intervention within school systems are provided, along with considerations for school-wide art therapy.

Details

Interdisciplinary Connections to Special Education: Key Related Professionals Involved
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-663-8

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Article
Publication date: 4 July 2020

Ali Coles and Tom Elliott

This paper aims to describe service user experiences of an art psychotherapy group which drew on occupational therapy perspectives to help adults with severe and enduring…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to describe service user experiences of an art psychotherapy group which drew on occupational therapy perspectives to help adults with severe and enduring mental health difficulties move forward in their recovery.

Design/methodology/approach

A case study approach incorporating outcome data was used. The data gathered comprised attendance, facilitators’ clinical notes, photographs of participant artworks, the Psychological Outcome Profiles questionnaire (PSYCHLOPS: www.psychlops.org), a post-therapy feedback form, discussion at post-therapy individual review sessions and participants’ achievements post-group.

Findings

All but one participant scored the group as “very helpful” or “helpful” and all felt that the group had helped them with the personal aims they had identified. The PSYCHLOPS questionnaire yielded a large average effect size, indicating positive change in terms of problems, functioning and well-being. Participants identified several ways in which the group was helpful, and their artwork and reflections indicate how they used the art making in the group to pursue their recovery goals. The service user experiences and outcomes suggest that this group was effective in facilitating recovery for these adults with severe and enduring mental health difficulties.

Originality/value

This group was innovative in integrating approaches from the different professional specialisms and the findings encourage further investigation into this way of working.

Details

Mental Health Review Journal, vol. 25 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1361-9322

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Book part
Publication date: 25 August 2020

J. Sedfrey S. Santiago

The occurrences of natural hazards in Southeast Asia have become not only more frequent but their severity has also intensified. More than 200,000 persons perished from…

Abstract

The occurrences of natural hazards in Southeast Asia have become not only more frequent but their severity has also intensified. More than 200,000 persons perished from the 2004 tsunami resulting from the 9.1 magnitude earthquake in coastal Sumatra, Indonesia, which was the third strongest since 1900. A record-breaking typhoon internationally named Haiyan (locally known as Yolanda) ravaged Central Philippines in 2013. Failure of the communities, as well as the countries, to cope with the hazards has led to disasters that have compelled them to seek external assistance, especially internationally. In the 2004 and 2013 disasters referred to, one specific form of assistance was the conduct of art therapy especially for children. This chapter surveys the literature and examines why and how art therapy has been used in disasters in the region, and which areas either need further exploration or research.

Details

Resistance, Resilience, and Recovery from Disasters: Perspectives from Southeast Asia
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83909-791-1

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Article
Publication date: 4 January 2021

Rebekka Dieterich-Hartwell, Craig Haen, Girija Kaimal, Sabine Koch, Augusta Villanueva and Sherry Goodill

The purpose of this study is to investigate what resources recent refugees to the USA tap into and how collaborative expressive movements were experienced with regard to…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to investigate what resources recent refugees to the USA tap into and how collaborative expressive movements were experienced with regard to coping and resourcing, and to derive a theoretical model that would inform the use of dance/movement therapy and other holistic treatment modalities with refugees.

Design/methodology/approach

A total of 13 refugees overall participated in parts of this study. Ten of these refugees completed movement sessions and semi-structured in-person interviews. Constructivist grounded theory methods and descriptive statistics were used to analyze the data.

Findings

The findings suggest that refugees draw on a number of resources. The collaborative movement experiences seemed to have both a settling and mobilizing effect with the most important phenomenon of connection to the self or to another person. A grounded theory model, developed based on the findings, shows a dynamic interaction between the encountered categories.

Research limitations/implications

The findings are preliminary and not transferrable because of limited size and potential researcher bias.

Practical implications

The findings contribute to an understanding of the resettlement and acculturation phase of refugees with potential implications and suggestions for current clinical practices and health services.

Originality/value

This study was original in its focus on understanding the role and the potential of body and expressive movement among refugees who have experienced trauma. Adherence to transformative paradigm principles invited participants to become co-researchers.

Details

International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care, vol. 17 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1747-9894

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Article
Publication date: 11 May 2015

Erika Pavlin, Žiga Elsner, Tadej Jagodnik, Borut Batagelj and Franc Solina

– The purpose of this paper is to set an example of how people with severe learning difficulties could be more integrated into our society.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to set an example of how people with severe learning difficulties could be more integrated into our society.

Design/methodology/approach

The installation consists of puzzles in the form of a specially designed table with an integrated touch screen. As the visual templates for the puzzles serve pictures painted by a person with severe learning difficulties. The pieces of the puzzles are manipulated directly by the player on the touch screen presenting an intuitive and easily learned user interface.

Findings

The framework for the work was a creation of an interactive art installation in the form of a game where users assemble puzzles on a touch monitor, housed in a specially designed table. Paintings by a person with severe learning difficulty served as visual templates for the puzzles. The pieces of the puzzles can be manipulated directly by the user on a touch screen presenting an intuitive and easily learned user interface, which stimulates the learning of fine motor skills and encourages practice, thus making it suitable for persons with severe learning difficulties in an art therapy setting.

Practical implications

As the work has the format of an interactive art installation, this enables it to gain publicity through exhibitions in art galleries.

Social implications

The installation demonstrates how people with severe learning difficulties can be integrated into the broader society. At the same time, these people are encouraged to use modern computer information technology, which is becoming a necessity also for this group of users. Ethical issues regarding how this group of people can get involved in such work are also discussed.

Originality/value

Combining the habituation of people with severe learning difficulties with computer technology in the form of a game, and framing the whole process as a fine art undertaking, to win the public recognition, is a novelty in addressing the needs of these people.

Details

Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, vol. 13 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-996X

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Article
Publication date: 17 November 2010

Paul Crawford, Brian Brown, Victoria Tischler and Charley Baker

This discussion paper reviews and critiques literature related to the evolution of the medical humanities as an academic discipline and its contribution to healthcare…

Abstract

This discussion paper reviews and critiques literature related to the evolution of the medical humanities as an academic discipline and its contribution to healthcare provision. We argue that despite considerable advances in the field of medical humanities, needs have been identified for a more inclusive, outward‐facing and applied discipline. These needs can be met in the form of what we have called the health humanities, which both embrace interdisciplinarity and engage with the contributions of those marginalised from the medical humanities ‐ for example, allied health professionals, nurses, patients and carers. It is argued that there is a need for new thinking to develop the discipline of health humanities, to develop, provide and share research, expertise, training and education.

Details

Mental Health Review Journal, vol. 15 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1361-9322

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Article
Publication date: 17 December 2018

Tony Gillam

The purpose of this paper is to explore how participation in creative arts activity can enhance public mental health and wellbeing. It is informed by both the author’s…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore how participation in creative arts activity can enhance public mental health and wellbeing. It is informed by both the author’s clinical practice with service users and carers and by research.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach taken is to draw selectively on research in the field of creativity, creative arts and wellbeing, focusing in particular on the use of music and creative writing, and to incorporate learning from clinical experience to explore what is understood about the health and wellbeing benefits of creative arts activity.

Findings

There is evidence that creative arts activity is beneficial to mental health and wellbeing. Arts activities that involve active participation appear to offer the greatest benefits. Creative arts participation can help people with diagnosed mental health difficulties to recover from mental illness. Moreover, creative arts activities can also promote wellbeing in the general population.

Research limitations/implications

The paper does not provide a comprehensive review of the literature in this field.

Practical implications

The paper suggests that if nurses and other mental health professionals are to play a full role in facilitating flourishing then they will need to learn more about using creative arts in practice and will need to become involved and encourage others to do so.

Social implications

The paper suggests it is important that creative arts activities should be participatory, so they become a vehicle not only for self-expression but also for participation in groups and communities, increasing connectedness and social inclusion.

Originality/value

This paper fulfils a need for a wider understanding of the health and wellbeing benefits of creative arts activity.

Details

Journal of Public Mental Health, vol. 17 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5729

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