(Organized by the WPA Section on Art and Psychiatry)

In : World Psychiatric Association International Congress
Treatments in Psychiatry : an update

November 10-13, 2004

Florence, Italy


J. Garrabé

L’Evolution Psychiatrique, Paris, France

At the beginning of the 20th century, several psychiatrists became interested in what was called at the time « mad people’s Art » Auguste Marie organised before the First World War some exhibitions of pictures by mentally ill patients in Saint-Anne’s Hospital in Paris. The book of Hans Prinzhorn « Bildenerei der Geisterkranken » (1922) was discovered by the painters themselves, especially the surrealists. From the exhibition organized by Volmat during the First World Congress of Psychiatry in Paris (1950) these works became known as Psychopathological Art. This approach was in opposition to that of « Art Brut ». The use of Art as an activity in psychiatric institutions brings out the problem of Art Therapy as well as that of the relationship with other psychotherapies and the training of Art-therapists.


A.-M. Dubois

Centre Hospitalier Sainte-Anne, Paris, France

Patients with eating disorders often have a very good quality level of verbal expression. However the speech is often stereotyped and structured around the internal necessity to deny disorders. Mental rationalisation is a frequent mechanism. Very frequently the use of the word is not for them a way of communication, neither with themselves nor with others. The use of verbal communication is essentially defensive. That is why, in most of the cases, psychodynamic psychotherapies are difficult to put in place. Psychotherapies with an artistic mediation have in the case of patients with eating disorders specific advantages. It is these techniques and results (clinical and artistic) that we will present with the different artistic mediations that take place in our center.


N. Chidiac Obegi

Centre d’Etude de l’Expression, Clinique des Maladies Mentales et de l’Encéphale, Université Paris V, Paris, France

Following a brief history of haiku and the structure of this poetic means of expression, we will present the writing workshop that takes place at the Clinique des Maladies Mentales et de l’Encéphale, at the Centre Hospitalier Sainte-Anne in Paris. Different modalities and forms of writing are proposed in these workshops. The goals are : a) to provide group structure as a « container » or structuring element ; b) to encourage thought and creativity ; c) to enhance pleasure. The articulation between writing and thought will be presented. The poetic form of haiku takes a predominant place for many patients. We will see that, paradoxically, the limits imposed by this form of poetry (brevity, concentration, structure) open up a world of possibilities to explore thoughts and feelings. Finally, a few examples of haikus and poems created by some of the patients will be presented for illustrative purposes.


C. Carbonell

Hospital San Carlos, Madrid, Spain

Several psychiatrists have used the artistic expression of mental patients as a way of communication. The determination to communicate, the ability to listen and try to make sense in the confused but original images, can be one of the goals of the art therapy. Art provides a space in which thinking and emotional experience can be liberated from the limits of reality and can be a bridge between those who suffer from mental illness and those that are engaged in artistic work, and professionally active in the artistic world. Art can be an invaluable ally to improve patients’ creativity. The capacity to establish relations unknown up to this moment, in other words, invent new acquaintances corresponds to creativity.

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