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January 2022

The role of the creative arts therapies in the diagnosis and treatment of psychological trauma. Special Issue: Childhood sexual abuse

Journal/Book: Arts in Psychotherapy. 1987; 14: 7-13.

Abstract: Describes the major elements of trauma and its treatment, and presents a rationale for creative arts therapy as the treatment of choice. Psychological trauma results in a dissociation of the self, interpersonal effects that attach the victim to the victimizer, and a feeling that one's humanity has been compromised. Symptoms of posttraumatic stress are outlined, and stages of treatment via gaining access to and working through the traumatic memories and rejoining the world are described. The special role of art therapy in facilitating the processes involved in these stages is discussed and illustrated via case examples of Vietnam veterans treated for posttraumatic stress syndrome with the aid of visual, literary, and dramatic arts. The cognitive, developmental, and psychodynamic reasons for choosing art therapy are highlighted.

Note: creative arts therapy; diagnosis & treatment of psychological trauma; Vietnam veterans with PTSD

Keyword(s): Art therapy; emotional trauma; psychodiagnosis ; posttraumatic stress disorder; adulthood

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