Evaluation of art therapy practices in Psychiatric Institutions in Ghana

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Art therapy can be defined as the therapeutic use of art making, within a professional relationship, by people who experience illness, trauma or challenges in living and by people who seek personal development. Art therapy rests on the position of art making in accessing and expressing meaningful self and social constructs. Because it is a creative activity, art therapy also contains the potential to generate new options, meanings and strategies. The core of art therapy is the creative process expressed through art making within a therapeutic relationship. Art therapy can be used with children, adolescents and adults in a wide variety of settings and applications. As an integrative therapy, it offers a necessary option for clients who may need an experiential, less verbally driven approach. This thesis appraises art therapy practice in psychiatric institution in Ghana. This was done by identifying the various psychiatric institutions using art therapy and the kind of art forms being used. The effectiveness of existing art related practices and occupational therapy in psychiatric institutions was also assessed. The scope of art therapy practice and its contribution to the rehabilitation process was evaluated and recommendations for its improvement have been made. Prior to this, the researcher visited selected psychiatric institutions in eight out of the ten regions of Ghana. During these trips observation of art sessions were made in some of the institutions Primary data for the study was also gathered during this period.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Art Education , College of Arts and Social Sciences in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Master of Arts (Art Education), 2004