Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

Living Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Art Therapy

Living reference work entry

Latest version View entry history

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27771-9_9124-2

Art therapy refers to the use of art as a central modality in psychoanalytic and psychosomatic treatment. Psychoanalytic clinicians may use this therapy as an important form of expression in treatment through techniques that allow patients (and their caregivers) to express themselves and their emotions in health-seeking pursuits. In clinical consultation sessions and illness diagnosis, art therapy provides a chance for afflicted people to express themselves and facilitate communication of unspoken experience of physical and psychological distress. The experience of illness and other forms of suffering may lack language equivalents for their expression, which art therapy have the potential to adequately represent. Conceptualizations of art therapy also reflect perceived connection between artistic engagement and efficacious alleviation of psychosocial and biological infirmities (Stuckey and Nobel 2010).

Therapy in Art

The word therapy derives from the Latin term therapia, originally...


Therapeutic Process Expressive Writing Holistic Health Creative Effort Illness Appeal 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Abraham, R. (2005). When words have lost their meaning. Westport: Praeger.Google Scholar
  2. Bogousslavsky, J., Hennerici, M. G., Bäzner, H., & Bassetti, C. (2010). Preface. In J. Bogousslavsky, M. G. Hennerici, H. Bäzner, & C. Bassetti (Eds.), Neurological disorders in famous artists -, Part 3 (Frontiers of neurology and neuroscience, Vol. 27, pp. vii–viii). Basel: Karger.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Case, C., & Dalley, T. (1992). Handbook of art therapy. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Dalley, T. (1984). Introduction. In T. Dalley (Ed.), Art as therapy: An introduction to the use of art as a therapeutic technique (pp. x–xxiv). London: Tavistock Publications.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Dow, J. (1986). Universal aspects of symbolic healing: A theoretical synthesis. American Anthropologist, 88(1), 56–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Furnham, A., & Forey, J. (1994). The attitudes, behaviors and beliefs of patients of conventional vs. complementary (alternative) medicine. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 50(3), 458–469.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Jung, C. G. (1983). The psychology of the transference (Extracted from Vol. 16 of collected works of C. G. Jung), Ark edition. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  8. Lane, M. R. (2005). Spirit body healing – A hermeneutic, phenomenological study examining the lived experience of art and healing. Cancer Nursing, 28(4), 285–291.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Leibing, A. (2008). Entangled matters – Alzheimer’s, interiority, and the “unflattening” of the world. Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry, 32(2), 177–193.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Malchiodi, C. A. (2003). Art therapy and the brain. In C. A. Malchiodi (Ed.), Handbook of art therapy (pp. 16–24). New York: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  11. Malchiodi, C. A. (2005). Expressive therapies: History, theory, and practice. New York: Guilford Publication.Google Scholar
  12. Malchiodi, C. A. (2013). Art therapy and health care. New York: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  13. Mareck, B. (2001). Each time a new breath: Buddhism art and healing. In M. Farrell-Hansen (Ed.), Spirituality and art therapy: Living the connection (pp. 52–76). London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.Google Scholar
  14. Meissner, W. W. (1994). The artist in the hospital: The van Gogh case. Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic, 58(3), 283–306.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Predeger, E. (1996). Womanspirit: A journey into healing through art in breast cancer. Advances in Nursing Science, 18(3), 48–58.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Rubin, J. A. (2010). Introduction to art therapy: Sources & resources. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  17. Selberg, S. (2015). Modern art as public care: Alzheimer’s and the aesthetics of universal personhood. Medical Anthropology Quarterly, 29(4), 473–491.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Sholt, M., & Gavron, T. (2006). Therapeutic qualities of clay-work in art therapy and psychotherapy: A review. Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, 23(2), 66–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Slatman, J. (2009). Transparent bodies: Revealing the myth of interiority. In V. van de Renée & R. Zwijnenberg (Eds.), The body within: Art, medicine and visualization (Vol. 3, pp. 107–122). Leiden: Brill.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Staricoff, R., & Loppert, S. (2003). Integrating the arts into health care: Can we affect clinical outcomes? In D. Kirklin & R. Richardson (Eds.), The healing environment without and within (pp. 63–80). London: Royal College of Physicians.Google Scholar
  21. Stuckey, H. L., & Nobel, J. (2010). The connection between art, healing, and public health: A review of current literature. American Journal of Public Health, 100(2), 254–263.Google Scholar
  22. Sutter, H. (2010). Paul keel’s illness (systemic sclerosis) and artistic transfiguration. In J. Bogousslavsky, M. G. Hennerici, H. Bäzner, & C. Bassetti (Eds.), Neurological disorders in famous artists, part 3 (Frontiers of neurology and neuroscience, Vol. 27, pp. 11–28). Basel: Karger.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Thomas, O. C. (2000). Interiority and Christian spirituality. The Journal of Religion, 80(1), 41–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. World Health Organization. (1978). Traditional medicine: Proposed programme budget for the financial period 1981. Geneva: World Health Organization.Google Scholar
  25. Zammit, C. (2001). The art of healing: A journey through cancer: Implications for art therapy. Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, 18(1), 27–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social Sciences; Anthropology UnitThe Catholic University of Eastern AfricaNairobiKenya