ERIC Identifier: ED350528
Publication Date: 1992-06-30
Author: Gladding, Samuel T.
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on Counseling and Personnel Services Ann Arbor MI.
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Art has played a part in the helping professions since ancient times (Fleshman & Fryrear, 1981). As early as 500 BC, the Egyptians utilized concerts and dance in the treatment of the mentally ill. Likewise, the Greeks used drama as a way of assisting the disturbed in purging their repressed emotions. The Hebrews relied on music, and other arts, in restoring and promoting mental health too, the most famous example being David who played his harp to soothe a distraught King Saul. Literature was seen by the Romans as a specific way of helping too. Lucretius thought poetry could disperse the “terrors of the soul” (Coughlin, 1990, p. A6).
In recent times, there has been renewed interest in the use of the arts in counseling, especially art forms that are considered “expressive.” Informed counselors can assist their clients in developing their potential through concrete and abstract verbal and nonverbal art forms that inspire, direct, and heal. Therefore, it is important that counselors know how the arts are used in helping. This type of background enables them to make informed decisions. Continued here