Alternative Complimentary Therapies
Conclusion Part 2
One of the main themes to emerge from this study is the idea
of self-expression. The individual's schizophrenic thoughts,
feelings and experiences that are articulated through their self-portraits
have shown to be extremely beneficial for the sufferer. It allows
them the opportunity to draw the way they see themselves at specific
times. For example, they may be delusional at one time and paranoid
at another. The different self-portraits that can be drawn by
one individual label the different ways they perceive their physical
self. When the changing sense of self that the sufferer is familiar
with can be drawn, it helps them gain control over their schizophrenic
symptoms and assists them in defining what is physically real
and what are the characteristics of their illness.
This study has shown the physical disturbances the individual
suffering from schizophrenia encounters. The schizophrenic's
physical sense of self is important to them, the way they look,
feel and understand themselves in the real world is paramount.
All the drawings enclosed (Appendix 1, 2, 3 and 4) seem to
reflect the physical attributes of schizophrenia. This could
be used as a way of reflecting on the individual symptoms and
the feelings associated with them.
Self-expression is important to help the individual gain independence
over their different sense of selves, in turn, this helps them
form a physical identity that is clear and intact. Although,
as stated earlier, there is little evidence of self-drawings
being used in this way.
As the individual sufferer explores their self-image and identity
they begin to
understand and make a connection between the relationship between
their physical boundaries and the boundaries they use in their
drawings, the lines and edges. This can lead on to an understanding
of what is real and what is characteristic of schizophrenia.
Little is known of the benefits from self-figure drawings
with schizophrenics, again this is due to the lack of valuable
research in the area. Most of the research does not consider
the possible use of self-figure drawings as a way of identifying
James (2003, p1) reiterates the point of not using self-figure
drawings and stresses their importance, here he states, "Drawing
as therapy is typically not used by therapists who work with
adults because they see it as "childish." That insular
view dismisses a very powerful technique which is particularly
appropriate for adults who are in crisis because of a traumatic
This dissertation has answered the project title, 'How do
self-drawings in art therapy help people with schizophrenia?'.
An extensive range of results have been identified as helping
the individual manage their illness. In addition the project
has also shown how schizophrenic symptoms can be identified through
the self-portrait drawings.