I’m reading an article dated Sept 2nd, 2009 in the brand spanking new journal ARTS & HEALTH titled « On creating the discipline, profession and evidence in the field of arts and healthcare » and the more I read the more I’m frustrated. Why you ask?

Because!!! Though the authors do a great job of sorting all the different names the arts in health go by (inclusive of art therapy) AND do a valid mapping of the decision tree in valuing types of studies (Meta-analyses, RCTs, CTs without R, Case, Qualitative, expert opinion), AND make a significant case for the arts in health benefits, they fall very short when it comes to visual arts therapy. The study should best be called music in health and not arts. Only one study in art and one in dance and all others are music in their study.

More serious is a lack of knowledge about the existing literature specific to art therapy. On the same topic:   Gilroy, A. (2006). Art Therapy, Research and Evidence-Based Practice. London: Sage, is a recent book. Gilroy discusses a similar decision tree to validate research findings but is not acknowledged in their paper. Hass-Cohen, N. & Carr, R. (2008). Art Therapy and Clinical Neuroscience. London: JKF is also worth reading and referencing. There are other recent compilations in the US and UK also worth noting.

Furthermore, the article discusses the need to work on collecting and organizing the arts in health body of knowledge, inclusive of music therapy and art therapy into a professionalized whole (training, credentialing, etc) !!! I’m sorry but music therapy has their own higher education training and professional associations across the world and so does art therapy. There is a discrepency between their presentation of a  wider more inclusive view of the arts in health, that not only promotes multi-modalities (art, music, dance)  but also looks into the benefits of various artistic interventions in health organisations. Examples would be the use of music in an operating room; the impact of colors in residential wards; artwork in waiting rooms; architectural features that are conducive to relaxing and enjoying the surroundings, etc. However their study advance benefits for artistic therapies such as music therapy, benefits that outweight interventions. A professional arts therapist, they note, has more impact than simple artistic interventions in a health milieu. Significant results in music therapy were found to:

…Lower agitation, increase social interaction, speech and verbalisation, improve mood, decrease anxiety, improve well-being and life satisfaction, decrease depressive symptoms, lower respiration and heart rate, and decrease distress (p.176).

I think I understand what the authors are attempting to do, and that would be to create a broader all inclusive category of the arts in all their therapeutic applications, a field that is not organized as of yet into a professionalized body of knowledge.  However there is a need to fully recognize that some of the modalities noted in particular art and music therapies and to a lesser degree in the Americas, dance and drama therapies are already organised and professionalised if not fully recognised.

The article is available from Routledge/Taylor and Francis through InformaWorld.

Classé dans , , , , , .

Catégorisé dans Thérapie.

Publié le 17 sept 2009

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