A neglected area in schizophrenia treatment and research: the efficacy of art therapy
Art therapy in psychotic people can help to restore orientation and structure within internal and external experiences, and the artistic "externalization" of inner states or experiences can become subject to cautious distancing and reality-testing. Moreover, art therapy might help to recover mentalizing function in psychosis by stimulating the formation of mental representations of thoughts and feelings, to develop a "language" for the mental processes of oneself and others and to understand mental states by the ascription of meaning. The research project was planned as a pilot study with two main objectives. These are evaluate the feasibility of an efficacy trial of art therapy, delivered in an inpatient setting, for patients with schizophrenia during acute psychotic episodes, and collect preliminary data on the effects of art therapy on psychotic and depressive symptoms. The qualitative evaluation of the art therapy process, including the images, videotapes and other visually gained data, will be compared to the randomized controlled trials outcome parameters.