Alternative Complimentary Therapies
Chapter 1 Part 2
One sketch was a self-portrait, showing a man's face as a
tangle of horns and bones. There was one swirling eye. Antennae
sprung from its head. It was the demonic geometry of how Nate
saw himself. Nate's other self-portrait was of a joker marching
down a bumblebees back.., the joker is a smiling, carefree trickster
with a bulging belly. Nate portraying himself as a fool, an emblem
of naivete* on the back of an insect...
The two serial and very different self-portraits produced
by the schizophrenic suggests an altered sense of the physical
self. This is characteristic of schizophrenic sufferers. In one
drawing the individual perceives himself in a demonic way and
in the other, a joker. Torrey (2001) attributes an unclear sense
of self as not knowing where the body stops and where inanimate
objects begin, alterations in bodily sensation, such as indentations
and ridges over the body, disassociation and detachment of body
parts and confusion in distinguishing oneself from another person.
These physical alterations of the self can be seen through Nate's
*pejorative (of a word, an expression, etc.), a depreciatory
*naivete (also naivety), the state or quality of being naive.
The first portrait with one swirling eye, an antennae that
sprung from his head and the tangle of horns and bones suggests
alterations in bodily sensations and the detachment of body parts.
The second portrait, the joker, suggests identification with
another image or person, revealing that he has an unclear sense
The symptom of paranoia can be identified, again, in most
schizophrenics. Craig, a schizophrenic sufferer comments on living
with the illness and reference is made to behaviour marked as
paranoia. "... I would play the clothes game. It also dealt
with the colors I wore. I'd change a few times a day to confuse
anyone who might be after me to kill me or hurt me." Craig
as cited in Emmons et al (1997, p134). The predominance of the
eyes in self-figure drawings with schizophrenics can be known
to reflect paranoia. This is marked in Nate's drawing with the
one swirling eye. Psychologists' comment on a number drawings
by the sufferer, Craig. Most of his drawings display a Cyclops
image, (Appendix 3). The psychologists suggest that, "From
a mental health perspective, such emphasis on the eyes indicates
paranoia." Emmons et al (1997, p185).
Another schizophrenic symptom is that of having no boundary
between the self and the outside world. One study carried out
by Buck (2002) concerned with the issue of boundaries and schizophrenia
explores sufferers' self-portraits looking for a relationship
between the lines and edges in their artwork to the absence of
boundaries characterised by schizophrenia. It was discovered
that there is a relationship between the lines and edges drawn
and the individual's boundaries. Buck (2002, p1) comments on
this by stating, "Lines and edges in the drawings can be
boundaries between the self and other, separate internal from
external experience, and distinguish reality from fantasy."
Another example of boundaries can be recognised, again, in the
drawings of Craig's artwork (Appendix 4). The lines and edges
do not clearly show where the figure starts and finishes and
what particular part belongs to what, thus reflecting uncertainty
between the self and the outside world.
Although self-figure drawings cannot entirely be relied upon
for the diagnosis of schizophrenia, since it consists of a mixture
of symptoms. However, some indications in drawings of the self
can be recognised as symptoms of schizophrenia.
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