Helping people communicate what they are unable to think and feel on a normal level is the ultimate goal of art therapy, and art therapy for treatment of schizophrenia has developed its initial stages within Pennsylvania’s Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic with the utmost of success. According to Robyn Cruz, director of creative and expressive arts therapies, about 2,500 schizophrenia patients participate in their art therapy program for outpatients with schizophrenia for the past 15 years.
The reason that art therapy for treatment of schizophrenia is successful is because art therapy is a safe and effective tool to use with people who cannot share their thoughts and feelings adequately through the tried-and-true traditional methods of “talk therapy” conversation. And the medications that are normally documented to reduce and control the mental illness of schizophrenia are often discontinued because the side effects are sometimes worse than the disease itself.
If that is the case, art therapy for treatment of schizophrenia offers a non-objective therapy to adults who are faced with such a situation on some level. It has been documented that children over five years of age can develop schizophrenia, but very seldom does it develop before adolescence.
It is difficult to accurately distinguish between different types of mental disorder from another, especially when the symptoms of the schizophrenia exhibit elated or depressed mood swings. In this case, it can be schizophrenia, manic-depressive disorders, or even major depressive disorders with similarity in all of them.
If the person cannot be categorized because of this, they are occasionally diagnosed as having a schizoaffective disorder. But on October 19, 2005 scientific research was done on art therapy for treatment of schizophrenia by R Ruddy and D Milnes, titled in “Art Therapy for schizophrenia or schizophrenia-like illnesses,” published in Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2005, Issue 4.
According to the study, traditional medication is the treatment of choice for patients with schizophrenia or schizophrenia-like illnesses, but five to 15% of the patients still experience the same symptoms.
The study explores the benefits of art therapy in addition to medication, but still required more research at the end regarding art therapy for treatment of schizophrenia, in order to make the study more meaningful and to determine the value of the art therapy. In 2005, art therapy was not as accepted as it is within the past year or so, with the emergency of interest in natural healing and alternative methods.
One treatment center for many all types of mental disorders, located at Skyland Trail at Atlanta, Georgia, focuses on expressive arts or art therapy for those diagnosed with schizophrenia. Through art therapy, those with schizophrenia can develop ways to achieve self-expression while simultaneously being able to utilize social skills, new hobbies and personal interests through their creativity.