Therapy Resources



Home Page


Self Help


Find a Therapist




Alternative Therapies Picture

Alternative Complimentary Therapies

Introduction 2

These definitions all share the idea of using art as a medium with individual therapy. Drawn from the last definition is the issue of psychological theories. These will not be considered in the dissertation. Although they could be seen as relevant to the way the issues that may arise are worked through. This is acknowledged briefly in chapter 2, the individual experience.
Laing (1974) as cited in Dalley (1984, pxxi) stresses the importance of the individual client, the role of art therapy and their identity, something the schizophrenic sufferer struggles with.

Every original art production by the patient is in some degree an aspect of that person. No-one else can create the same result on paper or canvas. Art therapy

offers an area where the patient can proclaim his identity and it offers an atmosphere where he can be himself... Art offers a medium which can give birth communication with others and confrontation with the self.

This idea of using art therapeutically is reiterated by Spaniol (2001, p222) here she confirms, "Based on a belief in the integrative and healing potential of visual imagery, art therapy generally uses artwork as vehicles for psychological insight and emotional growth."
When considering the interpretation of the individuals artwork Case and Dalley
(1992, p65) suggest, "Images are statements that have different layers of meaning, which can only be gradually unfolded." It is the interpretation of these images by the client with facilitation from the therapist that helps the individual understand their illness. Art activities can be seen as a means of non-verbal communication. Artistic creation provides a concrete medium that a person can gain conscious and unconscious expression. Art can be used in a variety of ways to help the individual with expression and communication. The use of self-drawings or portraits is one of these ways.
Machover (1949) developed a projective technique called Draw-A-Person test. Here the therapist asks the client to draw a person on a blank sheet of white paper and tell them a story about that person. The test is based on the idea that the figure drawn is representative of the client. According to Machover's test evaluation criteria the placement of the figure represents different elements in the client's life. The right side of the paper represents, the future, left the past, upper right, suppressed past and optimism and lower left, depression. Facial expressions shown on the drawing characterise personal traits, for example, large eyes or ears reflect suspiciousness and paranoia. Schatz (2003)
According to James (2003, p1) "Drawing as a projective technique has been used to look at both intellectual and personality constructs and intra-and interpersonal relationships..."

This is a useful technique with schizophrenia sufferers as it can give an insight into the individual and their illness.
The project question, 'How do self-drawings in art therapy help people with schizophrenia?' will be approached with four chapters, these comprise of, chapter one, how can schizophrenia be identified through drawings of the self? Chapter two, the individual experience. Chapter three, the role of the art therapist. Chapter four, what are the therapeutic properties of self-drawings? Finally, from these, conclusions will be drawn.