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Introduction to Art and Literature as Components of Person-Centered Care

Ekaterina Sukhanova


The article brings the attention of mental health professionals to the theoretical framework underpinning the contemporary understanding of the dynamics of psychiatric art. Using the semiotics approach to art production and perception, the article makes the connection between the dialogical mechanisms of art and the potential uses of art to counteract stigma, including self-stigmatization.

Creative works by patients have long been acknowledged a key source of information in the clinical diagnostic process. Furthermore, because all artistic activity is a communicative act, working with patient art aids the clinician to gain a better understanding of the preserved aspects of a patients’ personality, beyond the pathological syndromes, and build a better rapport, resulting in more successful therapeutic approaches. Gaining an insight into patient art allows the clinician to be more effective in planning specific medical and social rehabilitation strategies. At the community level, outsider art is a powerful tool in anti-stigma campaigns because the dialogic potential inherent in art is conducive to stopping the “vicious cycle” of stigmatization.


Art, Literature, Bibliotherapy, Semiotics, Dialogue, Stigma, Creativity, Person-Centered Medicine, Person-Centered Psychiatry

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