Venue: Universidad Complutense de Madrid 18 th – 21 st September 2003


The theme of this conference focuses on the very foundations of the arts therapies.
Is arts therapy a scientific discipline to be taken seriously and equated, for example, with psychology, mathematics or medicine? Can it assert itself in the competitive milieu of the individual sciences? Does it have enough theoretical-methodical tools available to be able to train young arts therapists in such a way as for them to be considered on a professional par with lawyers, doctors, chemists, for example? Or is arts therapy simply an “auxiliary science”, which, just as with numismatics or medicosociology, helps to find answers from within its own sphere of competence in response to questions asked by the reference sciences such as medicine, psychology, educational science?

We all know that arts therapy is a young science which, stemming from the tradition of psychoanalysis, lies between psychiatry/ psychotherapy and art (the fine arts, music, dance, drama). However, with its “social-scientific turn” it has more to do with learning and behavioural theory and is linked with psychology, sociology and educational science. Ist interdisciplinary character thus has many different facets.

Further, when the accent is more on art – and art is not intended merely to serve as a “means to an end”- the broad field of “research into the effects of art” is opened up. Until now, this aspect has received little attention, either academic or practical. Therefore, it is important to investigate different ramifications (communication, perception, the development of emotional and creative intelligence etc.), in order to make it possible to experience and define the practical successes of arts therapy and not merely the theoretical linkage possibilities it offers.

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