Anthroposophic Arts Therapies are an important and integral part of anthroposophic medical and social care and have been in continuous development since 1921, through the co-operation of doctors, artists and therapists. The therapies include the disciplines painting and drawing, music, singing, sculpture and speech formation; each with its own differentiated media, processes and therapeutic effects.
Based on the understanding of the human being as developed by Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), they offer a holistic approach to health and well-being that incorporates body, soul and spirit. Their practice involves the use of artistic processes and media as well as the therapeutic relationship. The focus is on the artistic process itself and no previous experience or skills are required to benefit from it.
Therapeutic effects can be achieved because laws governing physical and psychological processes such as tension and relaxation, structure and chaos, expansion and contraction, movement and rigidity also apply in artistic activity. Using media belonging to the chosen artistic discipline, one can work on finding one’s own personal balance between such polarities.
Areas and Quality of Intervention
Anthroposophic Arts Therapies can be indicated in cases of acute and chronic physical, psychosomatic, and psychological illnesses, for developmental disturbances, for rehabilitation, and as support in biographical crisis. The therapeutic work takes place, one-to-one or within a group setting and some specific areas of clinical intervention are depression, anger, challenging behaviour, chronic illnesses, addiction and palliative care, along with end of life issues.
Respectful of the uniqueness of each person, the therapists work with many different client groups including children, teenagers, adults, the elderly and those with special needs. Anthroposophic Arts therapies accompany and inspire the patient to engage creatively with the process of their illness and access their own resources for healing. The path of actively taking hold of one’s destiny, which has been challenged by illness or crisis, is central to the process of arts therapies, and seen as a foundation for healing and/or managing one’s condition.
Anthroposophic Art Therapists are active in hospitals, clinics and health centres – including those for intensive and/or palliative care – and in various other institutions, as well as in private practices. From the anthroposophical perspective and understanding of the human being, and confirmed by research and decades of therapeutic experience, arts therapies can have a positive impact on the individual’s physiological, emotional and mental sense of well-being.
Therapists are trained in the respective art forms (i.e. drawing, painting, sculpture, music, singing, speech, etc.) and this is complemented by further training in the specific therapeutic profession, integrating medical knowledge in the field of salutogenesis and pathogenesis. Basic and specialist training (full or part time) in Anthroposophic Arts Therapies are offered worldwide. The training institutes cooperate with the Medical Section at the Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland.
For further information, please refer to the ICAAT website.