Communicating through art

Has anyone ever been encouraged or volunteered to draw their condition?

It sounds bonkers, particularly as many of us struggle with invisible symptoms. However it has been indicated that creating art in an effort to communicate symptoms and emotions can be diagnostically beneficial. Artistic activity is proven to have psychological and physiological benefits in patients with a variety of conditions. It helps to distract from symptoms, provide enjoyment and reduce stress, and lower stress improves overall health.

Picking up a pencil and marking a blank page is far easier than unlocking your jaw and spilling the beans on all the ways your body is failing you. So it could be a shortcut to a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment plan for patients who struggle to articulate verbally. I know I have struggled to tell people about my symptoms in the past, particularly my parents, thus putting a delay on getting the ball rolling.

Has anyone ever tried?

Anyone interested in trying?

NB: As well as a personal motivation, I am also shortly going to be carrying out a research project on this subject for university. Any comments would be very much appreciated.

5 Replies

  • I have ME and chronic migrain so many conflicting symptoms, hard to describe. I work with creativity through art and fully agree with ou that it is a way to express how your feeling when hard to describe. Because art bypasses the controlling brain which is trying to formulate sensible descriptive sentences influenced by parts of the brain that process reasoning, things read, emotional responses etc....very confusing mix. Is it any wonder we find it difficult to explain symptoms we cannot even understand ourselves. Very frustrating. Art/creative processes in any form, when handled properly, bypass all the thinking and allow the body and heart to express in a simple non-judgment way. That can be very powerful and revealing. Sometimes what we think of some symptom on the surface may be revealed to be something else hidden underneath. So, in my opinion, art is a powerful tool for communication on any level. Please do continue with your study/Project. You have interesting things ahead for you.

  • Thank you for this. I will keep posting on here as my project progresses. E x

  • In my personal opinion, art is really a very strong communication tool, in fact, through art you can convey that message which is impossible to transfer through verbal communication.

  • Hi there,

    I am so interested in this research project. Please see the latest post I just put up out art therapy.

    If you can give me any links to the research you are doing that would be amazing! Where are you based? I have just got funding to support a group of people living with chronic pain to do a series of six art therapy workshops in Bristol.

    I would love to be in touch with you about this as I am exploring this as someone who has lived with chronic pain for 12 years myself and am keen to find creative ways to connect to others and make live more fulfilling.

    You can reach me here or on


  • Thanks for commenting! I'm going to send you an email :)

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