July 9, 2008

Art Therapy Helps Treat Mental Illness

A University of Granada study confirms the usefulness of art therapy to treat mental disease, Spanish researchers said.

Elizaberta Lopez Perez said her study is based on psychoanalysis principles. Art therapy is based on the idea that visual representations, objectified through plastic material, contribute to the construction of a meaning of the psychic conflicts, and favor its resolution.

Lopez Perez worked for more than one year with 20 acute mental patients from the Therapeutic Community of the Northern Area of the Virgen de las Nieves Hospital of Granada. Those who participated in these sessions took part in them voluntarily two days a week and they adapted paintings of artists such as Amedeo Modigliani, Edvard Munch, or Vincent Van Gogh, offering their own visions.

The patients, who project their inner world and their repressed desires through their paintings, deal with their fears and desires, which get real during the artistic process where it is possible to give them life or to destroy them, Lopez Perez said.