Psychodynamic art therapy shows promise in helping in-patients diagnosed with schizophrenia, according to a study by German psychiatric researchers in PLOS One.
In a randomized controlled trial involving 58 hospitalized patients diagnosed with schizophrenia who were given treatment as usual and twice-weekly art classes over 12 weeks or just treatment as usual, the researchers found that those who took the art therapy showed “a significantly greater mean reduction of positive symptoms and improved psychosocial functioning at post-treatment and follow-up” and “a greater mean reduction of negative symptoms at follow-up compared to standard treatment.”
“Of secondary outcome parameters, patients in the art therapy group showed a significant improvement in levels of emotional awareness, and particularly in their ability to reflect about others’ emotional mental states,” they added, suggesting that the “results prove the feasibility of trials on art therapy during acute psychotic episodes and justify further research to substantiate preliminary positive results regarding symptom reduction and the recovery of mentalising function.”
(Full text) A Pilot RCT of Psychodynamic Group Art Therapy for Patients in Acute Psychotic Episodes: Feasibility, Impact on Symptoms and Mentalising Capacity (Montag C et al. PLOS One. November 13, 2014. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0112348)