Mental Illness Treated With Art Therapy

The latest news from Spain is that art therapy helps treat mental illness. The University of Granada recently performed a study that confirms the contribution of art therapy to aid in the treatment of mental disease.

About the Mental Illness and Art Therapy Study

One of the researches, Elizaberta Perez, said the study is founded on psychoanalysis principles. Perez worked for over a year with 20 acute mental patients from the Therapeutic Community of the Northern Area of the Virgen de las Nieves Hospital of Granada. The patients volunteered to take part in the sessions two days a week. During the sessions they adapted paintings of artists like Amedeo Modigliani, Edvard Munch, Vincent Van Gogh, and contributed their own visions.

The patients used their paintings to project repressed desires, feelings and emotions from their hearts and minds. During the artistic process, they were able to bring these feelings and emotions to life, or abolish them as they saw fit, Perez said.

Additional Info

Art therapy is becoming a more acceptable way of helping people. As we mentioned, it can help with mental health and art helps the brain, but it can also help with the physical and emotional well-being of a person. Art can help people:

  • manage behavior
  • reduce stress
  • develop interpersonal skills
  • increase self-esteem
  • increase self-awareness

Art therapists can also help address:


  1. says

    Art in my opion is the greatest therapy for anyone with mental health issues. I have always loved art but it wasn’t until I rediscovered art that I discovered the therapeutic value.

  2. sarath -Sri lanka says

    Ancent sri lankans used art therapy for cure meny mental disorders, such as dancing wearing many kind of mask its calling yaga bali thovil and Shanti karma,now it self we use same some part fo the country people “Its one of the aruwedict medical systme”

  3. Reshma says

    I battle with mental illness every day of my life.the same illness made me pick up a brush and discover the artist in me. What once haunted me to paint is what I now do for a living. Not only have I found a career but the only therapy that works for me. Medications and counselling have not done their best towards my well being until I discovered the paint brush. I am looking to pursue a degree in art therapy soon when I have enough finances.

  4. says

    Art is the only therapy for me too.
    I have been working as a sculptor for over thirty years but due to my breast cancer just over two years ago I have had to stop lifting heavy work but I couldn’t survive without art so I am now doing lots more drawings which stops me from thinking dark thoughts but also about the experience…..

  5. Gopi Maran says

    My friends father is suffering from paranoid Schizophrenia. My questions is that is it curable by art theraphy.

  6. Lisa says

    To Gopi, I believe that Art therapy can be helpful with psychosis as drawing or painting out their visions and feelings etc can be really helpful in the process of getting well again. The question of curing is another all together as everyone is different and responds individually to different therapies.

  7. Nella says

    Can anyone recommend any group art therapy activities/exercises that might be used or indicated for schizophrenia? I am wondering if anyone has done any group work around this? Ive been asked to conduct an art activity with a Hearing Voices Support Group, and would value any insights from anyone who has done anything similar. Im not keen to do anything too deep or probing that might trigger trauma memories, acute distress or intensify difficult symptoms. Any ideas? The group are keen to do some exercises around exploring voices; I was thinking about doing something around externalising/naming/taking power back from the voices, and subsequent discussion and how it feels to see representations of those voices “outside” of themselves.

  8. Vickie Kornelsen says

    I’ve had some success with individuals with a mental illness and/or addictions issue using “boxes” or framing with art therapy. When you take something and confine it to a page, or “frame it” inside a box that item becomes manageable. Boxes can be closed or opened at will, and negative emotions confined to a page give boundaries to them which allows a person to stop their mind from expanding on other negative possibilities, or jumping to conclusions. Also, special memories can become more significant by putting them in a frame of some kind, even a frame drawn on a page. Hope this helps! Vickie Kornelsen Recreation Therapist.

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