Journal of Taiwan Occupational Therapy Research and Practice
In the clinical practice of psychiatric wards, occupational therapists usually exploit purposeful activities to evaluate, enhance, restore, or maintain patients' performance of occupations. Among them, creative art activities belong to a category of action-oriented intervention through which psychiatric patients who are defect in verbal expression or those who cannot completely present themselves verbally are able to display their thoughts and feelings with images and symbols, so as to promote personal growth, rehabilitation and transformation. In addition, art performance is figuratively a harbor of refuge in which clients can be protected from the roaring waves of unpleasant experience and memory, as well as a communication channel between patients' inner lives and the realistic world. In this article, psychiatric patients' performance and process of creative art are described and explained with examples of three expressive art activities used in the author's clinical practice. Suggestions of how to utilize various art media are also made for clinical occupational therapists with little or no art background.