Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
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Drawing on emotions: the evolving role of art therapy

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-03-16, 11:36 authored by Chelsea Cheng, Mohamed Elhassan Elamin, Helen May, Miriam Kennedy
Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses art media to improve well-being. This article explores the history and development of art therapy, from the first description of art therapy in the 1940s, to the two main approaches still in use today. The benefits of art therapy with regard to its delivery, patient population, and cost are then broadly discussed. The use of art therapy in psychiatric conditions, specifically in schizophrenia and schizophrenia-like conditions, is highlighted, as well as its role in chronic and physical conditions like asthma and cancer. Furthermore, the potential for art therapy to be more broadly implemented using technological novelties, such as virtual reality, is considered, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.



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Published Citation

Cheng C, Elamin ME, May H, Kennedy M. Drawing on emotions: the evolving role of art therapy. Ir J Psychol Med. 2021:1-3.

Publication Date

19 April 2021

PubMed ID



  • Undergraduate Research


Cambridge University Press


  • Published Version (Version of Record)