April 10th, 2020 Accès Art

Effectiveness of Art Therapy with Adults

In 2015, a group of ten researchers (Uttley et al.) conducted an extensive scrutiny through all the articles related to art therapy with adults. Their goal was to understand the efficacy of art therapy in people with non-psychotic mental health disorders. After selecting 15 latest articles that met their search criteria, the researchers found that art therapy helps clients feel better in various mental health issues.


Although the study presents only succinct and dryly the benefits of art therapy, it proves that art therapy is highly effective and should be considered a solid therapeutic modality in the future.

Depression: In 66.6% studies (related to depression) reviewed, the results prove that art therapy offered significant reduction of depression symptoms.

Anxiety: Art therapy is apparently highly effective in anxiety, having a calming effect and giving the clients the opportunity to re-focus on meaningful activities instead of worrying, and learning coping skills. A rate of 94% of the studies that looked at how art therapy interventions helped the clients with anxiety, have positive results.

Mood and distress: There is a consensus among the studies examining mood shifting that art therapy improves the mood and helps overcome negative feelings and distress, and re-connect to more positive ways of thinking.

Trauma: One area art therapy is strongly recommended is trauma work. Art therapy has the capacity to go deep in our traumatic experience through art-making, in a gentle and non-invasive way. All the studies examining trauma found that art therapy reduces significantly the symptoms and help the clients restore their normal functioning.

Quality of life: All the studies explored by the researchers found significant improvements in various components of quality of life, the participants improving their efficacy, well-being, self-identity, etc.

Coping: All studies reported that art therapy improves the problem solving and coping mechanisms towards the adversities in life.

Self-esteem: Art therapy proved to be effective and bringing significant improvements in boosting self-esteem.

It is scientifically proven that art therapy is a great therapeutic modality to alleviate symptoms in various mental health issues and improve the quality of life, the self-esteem, and equip the clients with better coping systems. Due to its dual languages used in sessions (visual and verbal), art therapy can address deeper and stressful issues without needing to express them verbally about them, but by drawing or painting them on a page. Visual expression helps always when the person that comes in therapy is stuck, confused, overwhelmed, traumatized, withdrawn, with no hope, etc.


Systematic review and economic modelling of the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of art therapy among people with non-psychotic mental health disorders. Article written by Lesley Uttley, Alison Scope, Matt Stevenson, Andrew Rawdin, Elizabeth Taylor Buck, Anthea Sutton, John Stevens, Eva Kaltenthaler, Kim Dent-Brown, and Chris Wood.

The article was published in March 18, 2015 in Health Technology Assessment, volume 19, issue 18.