Promoting mental health versus reducing mental illness in art therapy with patients with personality disorders: A quantitative study
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Number of pages
SourceThe Arts in Psychotherapy, 58, (2018), pp. 11-16
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI BO
SW OZ BSI KLP
The Arts in Psychotherapy
SubjectExperimental Psychopathology and Treatment
The distinction between mental health and mental illness has long been the subject of debate, especially in the last decade where there has been a shift in focus in mental health care from symptom reduction to the improvement of positive mental health. Art therapists have been influenced by this shift and in this study, we investigate: (1) whether art therapy improves mental health and/or reduces mental illness; and (2) what the relationship is between mental health and mental illness. We used secondary data (n = 74) from patients diagnosed with personality disorders from a pretest-posttest art therapy intervention, with 10 weeks in between the repeated measures. The indicators in the domains of mental health and mental illness we used were: symptom distress, flexibility, well-being, mindfulness, and schema modes. We used repeated measures ANOVA and effect sizes to examine the effects of art therapy and the Pearson correlation to examine the relationship between illness and health outcomes. Results indicated significant effects of art therapy in both domains. Furthermore, after creation of a single mental health and a mental illness score we found that the correlation between them was high. We conclude that art therapy both promotes mental health and reduces mental illness. The large correlation between these domains in patients with personality disorders suggests that we might be dealing with two sides of the same coin.
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