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Art Psychoanalysis

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Psychoanalysis and Art

The Integration of Psychoanalysis and Art

Nowadays health is a basis of a happy life for every person. So the mankind is constantly in search of the new methods for making health better. There is nothing strange in finding out that psychoanalysis and art are two interrelated and integrated discipline that can help humanity with health problems.

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Visual art was known for its medical qualities throughout history, but integration of psychoanalysis and art was not recognized as the means of curing people up to1940. In 20th century, psychiatrists began to get interested in the works of art created by their patients with mental disorders and came to the conclusion that an art expression reflected an emotional and inner state of the patient. The hospitals and clinics included art therapy along with the traditional treatment and saw that the result of such complex treatment was successful. Art making process intensified recovery and stimulated patients to any activity. As a result, art as a means of psychoanalysis appeared; thus, a new method of communication between a doctor and a patient was established (Searle, 2001).

A self-discovery with the help of art is an ancient activity, but the concept of art psychoanalysis is a new one. Art therapy is not applied only to treatment of people with mental disorders; it can be used for all sick and healthy people that have personal problems or are in a search of personal growth. Psychoanalysis has purpose to reveal the unconscious ideas with the help of art work of a patient. Under the art work one can understand composing and performing of music, poems, drawing, playing, etc. The visual art can show inner world of a personality better than language.

One can distinguish two approaches to the integration of psychoanalysis and art. The first approach is intensive, which is used to help the patients to discover something new about them. Art is used as an emotional journey to self-actualization; psychoanalysis and discovery are the results of this journey. The second approach is not based on the process of creating the art but deals with the exploration of conscious and unconscious expression through art.

There are many different techniques that are used in psychoanalysis connected with art:

1. Exploration tasks are used for showing verbal free associations; they are free and spontaneous, for example, automatic drawing, free drawing, etc.

2. Rapport-building exercises are used to prevent the patients from isolation, for example, conversational drawing and painting in groups.

3. Expression of inner feelings is created to help the patient to reveal inner feelings, desires and fantasies.

4. Three wishes techniques are used to draw at least three wishes, in order to reveal the most important desires.

5. The self-perception technique has intention to stimulate the patient to revealing a personal image.

6. The interpersonal relations technique is necessary to help the patient to understand the other people’s attitude to him/her.

7. The individual’s place in the world is a technique which helps to reveal a patient’s place in the society (Searle, 2001).

As we see there are many techniques, but one should remember that it is necessary to combine them; one technique should not dominate. Only the complex of these techniques may bring the evident results.

The connection between art and psyche of a person was noticed by Freud, who demonstrated the impact of life, mental and psychological state of a person on his/her creative work.

Art psychoanalysis is a kind of therapy, which uses the creativity of art in order to improve physical, mental, and emotional state of a person. Undoubtedly, art is not only the way to express one’s talent, a state of soul and creative thinking, but the way of calming, relaxing, reflection, stimulation, and analysis.

The creativity is an ability of a person to express oneself artistically. These artistic skills help to solve problems, develop oneself, express feelings and emotions, reduce stress and negative influence, and raise self-estimation and self-confidence. Nobody denies the fact that art is useful, even if you are not talented because you can create something for pleasure.

The benefit of art psychoanalysis is evident. It improves health, counsels, heals, treats, rehabilitates and helps people with mental disorders. Art psychoanalysis is the expression of feelings with the help of any form of art. Art psychoanalysis uses the performing arts, painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, music, literature, etc. There are many people who are afraid to use art psychoanalysis, as they do not regard themselves as talented. However it is a false thought, as art psychoanalysis can be used by any person. The most important thing is not to be afraid to express oneself and one’s feelings through art. The main aim of art psychoanalysis is to teach the patients to reveal themselves and to awake desire to create. It is not necessary to create art masterpieces; the main point is to use the art as the way of achieving the feeling of comfort and becoming healthy. In general, art psychoanalysis helps to improve emotional state and mental well-being, relieve stress and tension, and avoid depression and self-discover (Searle, 2001).

Art psychoanalysis is based on the principle of self-exploration that incites a person to reflections and conclusion of his/her actions and behavior. The results of art psychoanalysis are the feeling of relief, better mental health, and a more stable emotional state. Creative methods of this art help to discover oneself, see oneself from another side, become more confident, and control emotions. The most important thing is to find the suitable kind of art, and art psychologists will help to do the right choice. They are specialists in psychology and art. They are knowledgeable in therapy and human development (Searle, 2001).

Art psychoanalysis is recommended for people, who suffer from anxiety, insomnia, schizophrenia, depression, mental and emotional disorders, neurological problems, and substance abuse, drug and alcohol addictions, family problems, abuse and domestic violence. One can distinguish the different kinds of art psychoanalysis: music, voice and dance movements, dance and art psychoanalysis.

When it comes to the benefits of art psychoanalysis, it is necessary to mention that this extraordinary way of treatment had become a traditional method in the modern medicine as well as in the social life of people. The main benefits of this method are the following:

1) development of social skills;

2) improvement of mental, emotional and physical state;

3) treatment of illnesses.

In conclusion, one can say that art psychoanalysis is a cardinal step in medicine development. The integration of medicine and art will benefit mankind and assist in struggling with the new illnesses, which are appearing constantly. Our task is to do the best, in order to find out the new ways of treatment, even if these ways are extraordinary. Without doubt, art psychoanalysis is a treatment which brings not only health but pleasure; it is the way to reveal oneself. To my mind, we should use art psychoanalysis not because we suffer from any problem but in order to help our body to live in harmony with our soul. Art psychoanalysis is not only a medical treatment, but also a psychological self-analysis and philosophical reflection.

Psychoanalysis and Music

Music psychoanalysis includes playing, singing, and listening to music. A patient communicates with his/her psychologist through music as well as through words. Music psychoanalysis does not demand music knowledge. The main task here is to play any instruments you want and to sing, in order to calm and relax. One can improvise or prepare something, which you practiced and developed. With the help of art psychologist, a person finds out what kind of music will benefit him/her, and after that, he/she should try to listen to this music and perform it. One can discuss the feelings and emotions, which are provoked by this kind of music with the psychologist (Regnault, 2010).

Improvising a song encourages putting all feelings into words, if the person was unable to reveal them before the art treatment. Music psychoanalysis releases the person from the negative thoughts and incites him/her to talking. Music awakens memories and evokes emotions, which a person tries to hide, but keeping them inside makes him/her suffer. The advantage of music over other forms of art is that it sounds and even if a patient does not want to listen to it, he/she does this unintentionally (Regnault, 2010).

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Music has a profound effect on our body and psyche. It has been proved that music psychoanalysis can help cancer patients and children with attention deficit disorder. Nowadays, hospitals use music and music therapy to reduce pain, get rid of depression, promote movement, calm patients, ease muscle tension, etc. This is not surprising, as music greatly influences the body and mind. Music with a strong beat stimulates brainwaves; faster beats of music make concentration sharper and alert thinking. A slower tempo of music calms and cause. Music has a great impact not only on alterations in brainwaves but also on body functions; for example, the rhythm of breath and heartbeat can change under influence of any music. As a result, music and music psychoanalysis can counteract or prevent the harmful effects of stresses and provides not only relaxation and rest but the basis for a good health.

Music brings a more positive state of mind and helps to avoid depression and anxiety. Moreover, music psychoanalysis supports a creative and optimistic mood. It lowers blood pressure and prevents heart attack and heart diseases, encourages immunity, alleviates muscle tension, etc. Taking all these benefits into consideration, it is not surprising that music psychoanalysis is developing constantly and is very popular in modern medicine (Regnault, 2010).

When it comes to music psychoanalysis, nobody denies that it is useful. Stravinsky stated that there were twelve notes on each octave and varieties of rhythm, which never made us feel exhausted. Indeed, music makes us healthy and happy. And it is the music psychoanalysis, which connects spiritual and emotional states with structure and logic, and combines the artistic and scientific with the intuitive and intellectual.

Psychoanalysis and Dancing

Dance has been always an essential part of self-expression, ceremonial, cultural and religious events throughout history. For instance, American tribes used dances as a part of their everyday rituals. In 1942, Western dance therapy began to work, and Marian Chace was the first, who involved dances in medical practice. Marian Chace worked at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington and psychiatrists saw the bettering of the state of patients, who attended dancing lessons. The development of dance psychoanalysis is lasting, and at present time, there are above 1,200 dance therapists in the world.

Dance psychoanalysis includes different dances and movements that are performed, in order to reveal oneself, release negative emotions, relax and forget about all problems. The idea of dance psychoanalysis is to feel that mind and body are integrated and in harmony. Dances help to express feelings spontaneously in body language. When it is hard to talk, the best way is to dance (Knafo, 2012).

Dance psychoanalysis is helpful, if one wants to develop a self-understanding, learn to be confident and want to grow personally. One should forget to hold oneself, keep all feelings inside and suffer from surplus of negativism and pessimism. It is necessary to give up to dances, and only then dance therapy will be useful. Dance psychoanalysis may be conducted individually or in groups. The efficiency of the treatment depends on the personality of a patient.

Dance psychoanalysis is considered to be an expressive therapy, which prevents people from illness, improves self-esteem and reduces stress. Dances are forms of exercises; that is why they are useful for both physical and emotional states of a person. The physical benefits of dances are the following:

providing exercises;

improving mobility and muscle coordination;

reducing muscle tension.

Emotional benefits of dance therapy are the following:

improving self-awareness;

enhancing self-confidence;

improving interpersonal interaction (Knafo, 2012).

Another important fact is that dance psychoanalysis develops nonverbal language, and it is known that nonverbal language is the best indicator of an emotional state of a person.

In conclusion, it is necessary to mention that, nowadays, a very easy way of stress depriving can be found. And this way is dance psychoanalysis. The dancing movements relieve tension. Moreover, everybody knows that depression is the main cause of all illnesses, and art therapy is an efficient means of fighting it.

Psychoanalysis and Voice Movements

Voice movement psychoanalysis is also an important way of treatment. It is known that voice reflects how one feels him/herself in physical and emotional aspects. Voice movement therapy is based on the emotional state, expressed with the help of voice. In voice movement psychoanalysis, voice is the main factor to express oneself and deprive of health problems. Psychologists use movements and special exercises to help one to sound freely and clearly. There are cases, when the organs of speech may be blocked and can prevent one from speaking freely. One can express thoughts and emotions with the help of words and without words: singing, shouting or crying (Wadeson, 1987).

Psychologists help to use a wide range of voice enhancing techniques as a way to express inner emotions and to train voice. Sounding of voice shows the character of a person, his/her emotions, whether he/she is confident or not, etc. Voice movement psychoanalysis is used for people, who have difficulties in speaking and singing because of neurological or physical health problems. There are people, whose voices quaver during their speech, especially when being in a large group of people. Voice movement psychoanalysis makes voice sound free and makes people self-expressive, self-confident, and self-knowledgeable. Voice movement psychoanalysis is based on acoustics, anatomy, and physiology of voice.

Psychoanalysis and Drama

Drama psychoanalysis is a form of therapy which is based on theatre and drama. Drama psychoanalysis is the use of drama in order to achieve harmony of body and soul, forget about problems, and reach emotional and physical integration as well as personal growth. Drama psychoanalysis is an active way of depriving of problems. When the patient tries to play, he/she tells his/her story, which reflects all emotions and feelings. The possibility to play any role makes people more confident, flexible and courageous. Drama psychoanalysis is a verbal and non-verbal way of revealing oneself, because when people play, they not only tell the texts but also express this text with the gestures, mimics, eyes, etc.

Drama psychologists are specialists in theater arts, psychology and psychotherapy. They treat people with the help of improvisation, role-playing, puppetry, mask work and pantomime. Drama therapy is based on acting of different, realistic situations that have been in the real life but were connected with some problems. It is easier to analyze any problematic situation, when one improvises it and then analyses the causes of this problem (Knafo, 2012).

One can distinguish different drama techniques, such as improvisation, acting out, etc. However, there is no necessity to be a professional actor, in order to improvise and play. The main thing is not to be afraid of showing feelings and emotions.


The integration of medicine and art will benefit mankind to struggle with the new illnesses, which are appearing constantly. Woodhams stated that art can say everything that cannot be expressed with the help of language in everyday life. It is true because life is short, and art is eternal. In my opinion, the thing that can bring us pleasure and satisfaction, can cure us of diseases and solve our problems. I am convinced that integrity of art and medicine is a very successful idea, which will have only positive results.

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