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How do self-drawings in art therapy help people with schizophrenia


The dissertation considers the question, How do self-drawings in art therapy help people with schizophrenia? This question is approached by a number of relevant areas.

These include, how schizophrenia can be recognised through drawings of the self. For example, one schizophrenic symptom that occurs with most sufferers is that of paranoia. This is marked by the predominance of the eyes in self-portraits. The individual experience of schizophrenia is characterised by an altered sense of self, especially the physical self. This causes the individual to question their identity. The use of self-drawings can help the individual to make discoveries about themselves. They can learn to understand their illness, the symptoms of their illness can be pinpointed and an exploration of their true self can be made. This is achieved by the individual learning to translate their images with facilitation from the art therapist. The art therapists role is paramount. They assist their client in making sense of their artwork, although they should not interpret this as they could be wrong. The relationship between the client and therapist is known in some cases to have healing qualities of its own. This can help the schizophrenic sufferer. The reality that they can rely, trust and feel safe with someone can be enough to encourage the client to examine their self-portraits, try to understand them and help disclosure.

Self-expression is carried out when drawing pictures of the self. The individual's thoughts, feelings and experiences are revealed through drawings of the self. This allows the sufferer better understanding of their illness, this in turn, helps them gain a clearer sense of self to support the formation of a strong identity.