Trauma-Focused Art Therapy in the Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Pilot Study

Karin Alice Schouten, Susan van Hooren, Jeroen W Knipscheer, Rolf J Kleber, Giel J M Hutschemaekers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Research showed that more than 30% of patients with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) do not benefit from evidence-based treatments: Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). These are patients with prolonged and multiple traumatization, with poor verbal memory, and patients with emotional over-modulation. Retelling traumatic experiences in detail is poorly tolerated by these patients and might be a reason for not starting or not completing the recommended treatments. Due to lack of evidence, no alternative treatments are recommended yet. Art therapy may offer an alternative and suitable treatment, because the nonverbal and experiential character of art therapy appears to be an appropriate approach to the often wordless and visual nature of traumatic memories. The objective of this pilot study was to test the acceptability, feasibility, and applicability of trauma-focused art therapy for adults with PTSD due to multiple and prolonged traumatization (patients with early childhood traumatization and refugees from different cultures). Another objective was to identify the preliminary effectiveness of art therapy. Results showed willingness to participate and adherence to treatment of patients. Therapists considered trauma-focused art therapy feasible and applicable and patients reported beneficial effects, such as more relaxation, externalization of memories and emotions into artwork, less intrusive thoughts of traumatic experiences and more confidence in the future. The preliminary findings on PTSD symptom severity showed a decrease of symptoms in some participants, and an increase of symptoms in other participants. Further research into the effectiveness of art therapy and PTSD is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-130
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Trauma & Dissociation
Volume20
Issue number1
Early online date15 Aug 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

Fingerprint

Art Therapy
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders
Wounds and Injuries
Therapeutics
Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing
Refugees
Cognitive Therapy
Research
Emotions

Keywords

  • COMPLEX PTSD
  • DROPOUT
  • GUIDELINES
  • MEMORY
  • METAANALYSIS
  • PTSD
  • RECOMMENDATIONS
  • REFUGEES
  • art therapy
  • feasibility
  • protocol
  • trauma-focused

Cite this

Schouten, Karin Alice ; van Hooren, Susan ; Knipscheer, Jeroen W ; Kleber, Rolf J ; Hutschemaekers, Giel J M. / Trauma-Focused Art Therapy in the Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder : A Pilot Study. In: Journal of Trauma & Dissociation. 2019 ; Vol. 20, No. 1. pp. 114-130.
@article{480a8ae6af3a41efad6d60c9f394bb35,
title = "Trauma-Focused Art Therapy in the Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Pilot Study",
abstract = "Research showed that more than 30{\%} of patients with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) do not benefit from evidence-based treatments: Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). These are patients with prolonged and multiple traumatization, with poor verbal memory, and patients with emotional over-modulation. Retelling traumatic experiences in detail is poorly tolerated by these patients and might be a reason for not starting or not completing the recommended treatments. Due to lack of evidence, no alternative treatments are recommended yet. Art therapy may offer an alternative and suitable treatment, because the nonverbal and experiential character of art therapy appears to be an appropriate approach to the often wordless and visual nature of traumatic memories. The objective of this pilot study was to test the acceptability, feasibility, and applicability of trauma-focused art therapy for adults with PTSD due to multiple and prolonged traumatization (patients with early childhood traumatization and refugees from different cultures). Another objective was to identify the preliminary effectiveness of art therapy. Results showed willingness to participate and adherence to treatment of patients. Therapists considered trauma-focused art therapy feasible and applicable and patients reported beneficial effects, such as more relaxation, externalization of memories and emotions into artwork, less intrusive thoughts of traumatic experiences and more confidence in the future. The preliminary findings on PTSD symptom severity showed a decrease of symptoms in some participants, and an increase of symptoms in other participants. Further research into the effectiveness of art therapy and PTSD is needed.",
keywords = "COMPLEX PTSD, DROPOUT, GUIDELINES, MEMORY, METAANALYSIS, PTSD, RECOMMENDATIONS, REFUGEES, art therapy, feasibility, protocol, trauma-focused",
author = "Schouten, {Karin Alice} and {van Hooren}, Susan and Knipscheer, {Jeroen W} and Kleber, {Rolf J} and Hutschemaekers, {Giel J M}",
year = "2019",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1080/15299732.2018.1502712",
language = "English",
volume = "20",
pages = "114--130",
journal = "Journal of Trauma & Dissociation",
issn = "1529-9732",
publisher = "Routledge",
number = "1",

}

Trauma-Focused Art Therapy in the Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder : A Pilot Study. / Schouten, Karin Alice; van Hooren, Susan; Knipscheer, Jeroen W; Kleber, Rolf J; Hutschemaekers, Giel J M.

In: Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, Vol. 20, No. 1, 01.01.2019, p. 114-130.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Trauma-Focused Art Therapy in the Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

T2 - A Pilot Study

AU - Schouten, Karin Alice

AU - van Hooren, Susan

AU - Knipscheer, Jeroen W

AU - Kleber, Rolf J

AU - Hutschemaekers, Giel J M

PY - 2019/1/1

Y1 - 2019/1/1

N2 - Research showed that more than 30% of patients with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) do not benefit from evidence-based treatments: Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). These are patients with prolonged and multiple traumatization, with poor verbal memory, and patients with emotional over-modulation. Retelling traumatic experiences in detail is poorly tolerated by these patients and might be a reason for not starting or not completing the recommended treatments. Due to lack of evidence, no alternative treatments are recommended yet. Art therapy may offer an alternative and suitable treatment, because the nonverbal and experiential character of art therapy appears to be an appropriate approach to the often wordless and visual nature of traumatic memories. The objective of this pilot study was to test the acceptability, feasibility, and applicability of trauma-focused art therapy for adults with PTSD due to multiple and prolonged traumatization (patients with early childhood traumatization and refugees from different cultures). Another objective was to identify the preliminary effectiveness of art therapy. Results showed willingness to participate and adherence to treatment of patients. Therapists considered trauma-focused art therapy feasible and applicable and patients reported beneficial effects, such as more relaxation, externalization of memories and emotions into artwork, less intrusive thoughts of traumatic experiences and more confidence in the future. The preliminary findings on PTSD symptom severity showed a decrease of symptoms in some participants, and an increase of symptoms in other participants. Further research into the effectiveness of art therapy and PTSD is needed.

AB - Research showed that more than 30% of patients with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) do not benefit from evidence-based treatments: Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). These are patients with prolonged and multiple traumatization, with poor verbal memory, and patients with emotional over-modulation. Retelling traumatic experiences in detail is poorly tolerated by these patients and might be a reason for not starting or not completing the recommended treatments. Due to lack of evidence, no alternative treatments are recommended yet. Art therapy may offer an alternative and suitable treatment, because the nonverbal and experiential character of art therapy appears to be an appropriate approach to the often wordless and visual nature of traumatic memories. The objective of this pilot study was to test the acceptability, feasibility, and applicability of trauma-focused art therapy for adults with PTSD due to multiple and prolonged traumatization (patients with early childhood traumatization and refugees from different cultures). Another objective was to identify the preliminary effectiveness of art therapy. Results showed willingness to participate and adherence to treatment of patients. Therapists considered trauma-focused art therapy feasible and applicable and patients reported beneficial effects, such as more relaxation, externalization of memories and emotions into artwork, less intrusive thoughts of traumatic experiences and more confidence in the future. The preliminary findings on PTSD symptom severity showed a decrease of symptoms in some participants, and an increase of symptoms in other participants. Further research into the effectiveness of art therapy and PTSD is needed.

KW - COMPLEX PTSD

KW - DROPOUT

KW - GUIDELINES

KW - MEMORY

KW - METAANALYSIS

KW - PTSD

KW - RECOMMENDATIONS

KW - REFUGEES

KW - art therapy

KW - feasibility

KW - protocol

KW - trauma-focused

U2 - 10.1080/15299732.2018.1502712

DO - 10.1080/15299732.2018.1502712

M3 - Article

C2 - 30111254

VL - 20

SP - 114

EP - 130

JO - Journal of Trauma & Dissociation

JF - Journal of Trauma & Dissociation

SN - 1529-9732

IS - 1

ER -