The artistic drawings of psychiatric patients have been of increasing interest to mental health professionals over the last hundred years. In the 1870's Simon speculated on the relationship between the art of psychotics and their illnesses (1) . Freud and Jung made observations about the symbolism of art work. By the 1940's Naumberg developed a system of art therapy relying heavily on psychoanalytic theory that is now a therapeutic discipline in its own right (2).
In the inpatient milieu art therapy is commonly offered in conjunction with other therapies that make up the inpatient experience. The art therapist often shares the information gained with the primary therapist when the art work aids in elucidating conflicts, defenses, and thought content that may not have been verbalized by the patient. Rarely does the psychiatrist use art therapy as his primary mode of therapeutic intervention.
Morrow, MD, Robert
"The Use of Art Therapy in a Patient with Chronic Schizophrenia,"
Jefferson Journal of Psychiatry: Vol. 3
, Article 10.
Available at: http://jdc.jefferson.edu/jeffjpsychiatry/vol3/iss1/10