Title Colour Legend:
Green - Topic summary is available.
Orange - Topic summary is being compiled.
Red - Topic summary has no current systematic review available.

Art and drama therapies

What are art and drama therapies?

Art therapy is defined by the British Association of Art Therapists as “the use of art materials for self-expression and reflection in the presence of a trained art therapist. Clients who are referred to art therapy need not have previous experience or skill in art, the art therapist is not primarily concerned with making an aesthetic or diagnostic assessment of the client’s image. The overall aim of its practitioners is to enable a client to effect change and growth on a personal level through the use of art materials in a safe and facilitating environment”. Drama therapy is defined by the British Association of Drama Therapists as “the use of drama and theatre as a therapeutic process. It is a method of working and playing that uses action methods to facilitate creativity, imagination, learning, insight and growth.” Art therapy uses artwork to create a relationship between therapist and patient. The artwork may act as a buffer which reduces the intensity of the relationship between patient and therapist, which may be more productive for schizophrenia patients. Any benefit of drama therapy may come from the fundamental ‘make-believe’ aspect, which distances participants from the subject matter, allowing them to work with material that may be sensitive to them.

What is the evidence for art and drama therapies?

Low quality evidence is unable to determine the benefits of art or drama therapy for people with schizophrenia. Review authors conclude that the use of art or drama therapy should continue to be under evaluation as its benefits or harms are unclear.


April 2016

Page last updated: 1:48  30 August 2017

To view documentation related to this topic download the files below