Art therapy for posttraumatic-stress disorder

PhD Thesis

Schnitzer, G. 2018. Art therapy for posttraumatic-stress disorder. PhD Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University Salomons Centre for Applied Psychology
AuthorsSchnitzer, G.
TypePhD Thesis
Qualification nameDClinPsychol

Background: Posttraumatic-stress disorder (PTSD) is common in military veterans. Research has shown reduced effectiveness of commonly offered treatments in those with military backgrounds. Some research has suggested the usefulness of art therapy for veterans with PTSD. The project aimed to establish firstly participants’ perceptions of any impact of group art therapy for veterans and secondly some of the perceived mechanisms of change.

Methodology: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with nine veterans who had received group art therapy, two art therapists, and a veteran’s wife. Interviews were analysed using grounded theory.

Results: Theorised categories pertaining to active ingredients of art therapy and its impact included (a) the art therapy group, (b) the art therapist, (c) trust, (d) doing the work, (e) a communication tool, (f) points of recognition, (g) making things concrete, and (h) not a cure.

Discussion: The developed grounded theory is linked with existing literature. Limitations of the study design and analysis are discussed. Clinical recommendation include a call for greater co-operation between mainstream and art therapists. Due to the fairly homogenous sample it is suggested to replicate the project at different sites. Elements of the model may be investigated further to establish its validity.

KeywordsArt therapy; military veterans; PTSD; mechanisms of change; grounded theory
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Please note that I am still in contact with two potential additional participants. They have both responded late to the recruitment letter. I may interview them to get additional data for my publication.

Publication process dates
Deposited04 Oct 2018
AcceptedApr 2018
Output statusUnpublished
Accepted author manuscript
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