Depression Reduced by Art Therapy

Artist paint brush and palette


After ten treatments the patients who suffered from severe or moderately severe depression had shown more improvement than the patients in the control group.



Art Therapy Reduces Severe Depression 

As part Dr. Christina Blomdahl’s dissertation,  43 patients with severe or moderately severe depression underwent a manual-based art therapy.  The control group consisted of 36 people who all suffered from the same medical condition.

All participants were given different combinations of medication, cognitive behavioral therapy, psychodynamic therapy and physical therapy.  

The materials were simple, allowing people to doodle and feel free to express themselves the way they wanted to, and then they would talk about the picture and its significance to the participant”, explains Christina Blomdahl.

After ten hour-long treatment sessions the patients had improved on an average of almost five steps on a rating scale used for depression. 

“Even the people who did not experience any direct benefit from the treatment had shown improvement. Painting pictures based on themes and discussing the pictures with the therapist promoted self-reflection and brain stimulation that took place outside of the conscious mind. 

  Clear effect of art therapy on severe depression

University of Gothenberg

October 5, 2017

Source of Image 


Life beats down and crushes the soul and art reminds you that you have one.

-Stella Adler- 


Dr. Parker’s Commentary

Since severe depression often accompanies major heart issues, art therapy should be more frequently considered as part of the rehabiliation.

I know of no cardiac rehabilitation program or even a major heart clinic or organization where art therapy is part of the program  for heart patients.

This is a major blind spot in the culture; the overemphasis on a scientific approach rather than a whole person approach is part of the problem. 

Dr. Parker is a 68 year old heart attack survivor and cardiac psychologist.He is an Honors graduate of Stanford University with forty years of clinical experience. Dr. Parker is available for consultation on heart matters. Contact him at heartcurrents(at)