(Investigator 151, 2013
Art Therapy had its genesis in America in the early part of the 19th.
century when an interest was taken in the psychological significance of
Although Margaret Naumburg defined Art Therapy as a profession and
established the Walden School in America in 1915, the benefits of Art
Therapy were not fully recognised until the 1950s. In 1961, the Bulletin
of Art Therapy, published by Elinor Ulman became an independent
forum for practitioners.
In 1969, The American Art Therapy Association was established in
Louisville, Kentucky. The British Association of Art Therapists was
granted the status of one of the Professions Supplementary to Medicine
in December 1981.
The underlying idea is that art is a reflection of the subconscious
mind and that observation and analysis of the patient's painting
provides a diagnostic tool for the treatment of many complex health
Patients are encouraged to draw, paint, doodle or sculpt as a means of
allowing the instinctive and intuitive awareness patterns free access
from the right brain. The results deduced by art therapists and
been part of standard occupational therapy for decades and is used
today in many hospital rehabilitation centres, mental health centres,
and correctional institutions to treat the emotionally disturbed, the
elderly and the physically disabled.
therapy in which
people physically express their thoughts, not only for pleasure, but to
enable trained therapists to help diagnose and treat many complex
mental health problems.
varying designs and colours reveals much about their mental state,
rather like the Rorschach ink-blot tests of the 1920s. When words don't
come easily, art is an alternative to bypass the intellectual defences.
therapeutic value is to provide an outlet for the patient's troubled
feelings. It gives .hospitalised patients something to do. It is also
successful in alleviating distress, emotional and physical impairments,
treating the drug dependent and for teaching learning-disabled
children. It is particularly useful for the latter and for helping
adult stroke victims who've lost the use of their dominant hand.
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