Creative arts therapy for PTSD

Creative arts therapy

What is creative arts therapy for PTSD?

Creative arts therapy allows thoughts and feelings about trauma to be expressed non-verbally. Visual and musical artistic expressions, as well as the body itself, are used to recall the traumatic memory and to symbolise the pain and suffering resulting from trauma. Proposed mechanisms by which creative art therapies may improve PTSD include relaxation, expression of memories and emotions that are difficult to put into words, containment of traumatic material within a creative art product may provide a sense of control, symbolic expression may make progressive exposure more tolerable, and creation may build self-esteem and reduce emotional numbness.

What is the evidence for creative art therapy?

Low quality evidence is unable to determine any benefit of creative arts therapy for PTSD symptoms. Review authors conclude that trials with greater scientific rigor are needed in this area.

August 2021

Image: ©Gino Santa Maria – ShutterFree, L.L.C. –

Last updated at: 11:55 pm, 12th October 2021
To view documentation related to this topic download the files below
Fact Sheet Technical Commentary

NeuRA Libraries

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