Authors: Eileen Jenkins & Wei-May Su
Event: 2023 The MHS conference - Adelaide
Subject: A culture shift is needed to include art therapy in the clinical treatment of mental health issues
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: Art Therapy is a person-centred, creative mode of therapy which is an excellent option for people with mental health issues. Importantly, it lessens the re-traumatising of clients.1
People have a choice to engage in this therapy. Including art therapy in clinical treatments would be a means of gaining insight into clients’ mental health concerns and the means to heal them.
From the literature review, art therapy shows great promise as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), terminal illness, sexual abuse, imprisonment, identity issues, and traumatic events. It is seen in a systemic review by Schouten, et al2 that “there is an evidence base for the urgent need for further research on art therapy and trauma work.” People have the right to explore their issues in a creative way, alongside more clinical approaches. It would be valuable if people have access to the benefits of art therapy, from when they first need it, and that it is used in multidisciplinary settings where clinicians reinforce its benefits and encourage their clients to pursue it. This culture shift would be a practical way to help clinicians meet the needs of the whole person.
Participants will be able to recognise clients who would benefit from art therapy and describe how art therapy can be used as an adjunct to clinical care. Clinicians, allied health and community with lived experience will enhance their capacity to improve mental health.
1. Morrissey, Patrick J,A.T.-R., L.C.P.C. (2013). Trauma finds expression through art therapy. Health Progress, 94(3), 44-7. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.sl.nsw.gov.au/login?url=https://www.proquest.com/trade-journals/trauma-finds-expression-through-art-therapy/docview/1415612403/se-2
2. Schouten, K. A., de Niet, G. J., Knipscheer, J. W., Kleber, R. J., & Hutschemaekers, G. J. M. (2015). The Effectiveness of Art Therapy in the Treatment of Traumatized Adults: A Systematic Review on Art Therapy and Trauma. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 16(2), 220–228. https://doi.org/10.1177/1524838014555032