Art therapy and alexithymia

Marilyn Heiman, Diane Stmad, Wendy Weiland, Thomas N. Wise

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This study investigated the effect of alexithymia upon a persons art production. Subjects were 100 patients, 24 men and 76 women, hospitalized on an inpatient psychiatric unit. The Toronto Alexithymia Scale and 100-mm analog scales for depression and anxiety were administered. Each subject was ashed to draw, then identify his/her tUness. Verbatim associations were recorded. Artwork was rated as concrete, abstract, combination of the two, or symbolic. Number of colors used and presence or absence of body parts were noted. No significant correlations were found. All subjects, even those quantified as alexithymic, were able to graphically communicate their illness using these instructions. These results suggest the possibility for art therapy to contribute significantly to the multidisciplinary milieu.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)142-146
Number of pages5
JournalArt Therapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and Manual Therapy
  • Clinical Psychology


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