A series of short movies reveals how patients, therapists, and doctors value arts therapies
Author: Team ICAAT – Coordinator Public Relations Silke Speckenmeyer
To mark the 100th anniversary of Anthroposophical Medicine, the International Coordination of Anthroposophic Arts Therapies (ICAAT) (1) produced a mini-documentary series with four distinct episodes focused on the therapeutic areas of painting, music, modelling and speech. In this filmic insight, viewers can learn directly from the perspective of patients, therapists and doctors about the artistic approaches, therapeutic effects, and fields of application originating from the Anthroposophic Arts Therapies approach.
Anthroposophic Arts Therapies support the treatment of acute and chronic illnesses. These art-therapeutic activities also have a preventive function, as they provide methods for a mindful, self-effective way of dealing with oneself.
Anthroposophic Arts Therapies – a variety of approaches oriented towards human needs
The therapeutic indication is based on the one hand on the physical (somatic) diagnosis and the observation of the activity of the four formative forces of the human being (anthroposophic diagnosis). On the other hand, the preferences of the patient are also taken into consideration, on the basis of which a joint approach is developed. In cases of mental pain and suffering, art is used in another, more freeing way to strengthen and heal the soul. Furthermore, art can help to give a sense of meaning and orientation, and to develop new perspectives through creativity (2, 3).
All Anthroposophic Arts Therapies are available during in-person, physical visits and in outpatient sessions, including in hospitals and clinics, rehabilitation centers, special needs educational institutions, social-therapeutic facilities, in prisons, and even in the field of international emergency and disaster management missions.
Therapeutic Painting and Drawing
Therapeutic Painting and Drawing is a therapeutic method of Anthroposophy, aiming at formative growth. This art therapy method encourages patients to express themselves and communicate emotions that are difficult to process. The creative element allows patients to develop awareness of their inner thoughts, feelings, and experiences. This promotes self-regulation, self-reliance, and self-confidence in everyday life, and in turn, improves the mental, emotional, and physical state, as well as overall health. In addition to their self-expression, patients are also given specific artistic exercises based on the understanding of their individual needs and illness. The therapeutic approach is oriented towards actions and experiences in the field of visual arts.
Download the video on ‘Therapeutic Painting and Drawing’ here.
Music and Singing Therapy
The intention of anthroposophic Music Therapy is to activate the patient’s self-healing powers and to support the person’s capability of self-regulation on the spiritual, psychological, mental, functional, and physical level. It is used in the active, as well as in the receptive, form. Musical elements like tones, intervals, melodies, harmonies and rhythms are used in combination with the sounds of different instruments and/or the human voice, and are arranged for each patient individually. Music therapy can be applied in all periods of life and in a large variety of diseases and biographical crises (4).
Download the video on ‘Music and Singing Therapy’ here.
Therapeutic Modelling and Sculpting
From the four arts therapies used in Anthroposophic Medicine, Modelling and Sculpting is the one that is closest to the physical space and living body. It mostly addresses the four lower senses – touch, life, movement and location or balance. It especially helps with orientation in space and one’s own body, as well as to induce calmness, and to strengthen the existential connection with the reality of matter (5).
Download the video on ‘Therapeutic Modelling and Sculpting’here.
Anthroposophic Therapeutic Speech
Anthroposophic Therapeutic Speech works with exercises to improve the voice, articulation, breathing and movement skills. With texts such as stories and poems, ballads and excerpts from plays, patients can immerse themselves in the realm of language. Combining these elements and putting them at the center of the therapy can awaken joy in one’s own body, improve communication skills and self-expression. In addition, targeted therapeutic speech exercises also help to overcome physical or physiological barriers.
“This is about releasing and rhythmising the breathing,” says Dr. Julia Fellmer, a General Practitioner at the German Therapeuticum Köln, who often prescribes anthroposophic therapeutic speech for asthma and perceives convincing results: “The flow of speech comes back.”
Download the video on ‘Anthroposophic Therapeutic Speech’here.
The International Coordination of Anthroposophic Arts Therapies (ICAAT) coordinates training, exchange, research and representation of Anthroposophic Arts Therapies worldwide.
1. For further information see ICAAT-Website: https://www.icaat-medsektion.net/en/.
2 Gruber H, von Bonin D, Heckel V. Arts Therapies. Overview of evaluation and research. Available at https://medsektion-goetheanum.org/forschung/investigating-clinical-fields/arts-therapies.
3 Hamre HJ, Kiene H, Ziegler R et al. Overview of the Publications from the Anthroposophic Medicine Outcomes Study (AMOS): A Whole System Evaluation Study. Global Advances in Health and Medicine 2014; 54-70. DOI: https://doi.org/10.7453/gahmj.2013.010.
4 Lindau S. Anthroposophische Musiktherapie. Der Merkurstab 2014;67(3):180-187. DOI: https://doi.org/10.14271/DMS-20320-DE.
5 Sommer-Solheim A, Sommer M. Therapeutisches Plastizieren mit onkologischen Patienten. Der Merkurstab 2009;62(4):364-369. DOI: https://doi.org/10.14271/DMS-19472-DE.