How much use is made of the arts in psychotherapy? Check out the May 6, 2013 news release, “Breaking the silence of suicide.”
Yehudit Silverman, a professor in Concordia University’s Department of Creative Arts Therapies, has focused much of her career on the issue of suicide. Having written and directed a film called The Hidden Face of Suicide, Silverman has now published new findings on the cross-cultural commonalities associated with suicide in the peer-reviewed journal, The Arts in Psychotherapy.
Watch the film trailer, “The Hidden Face of Suicide Trailer – IMDb.” The Concordia researcher, Yehudit Silverman uses the arts to reveal the cross-cultural implications of suicide. Download the song, “Hold On.”
Last month, a young high school student from Halifax committed suicide after photos of her being raped were posted on the Internet. Her story wasn’t just about bullying. It was also about the complex feelings her friends and family faced with her decision to take her own life.
Psychotherapists who work in or with the arts deal with themes such as taboo, hiding and isolation, multi-generational impact, witnessing others and being witnessed when it comes to working with topics such as suicide, rape, molestation, and abuse. See the news articles, “Family of California teen who committed suicide after sex assault plans legal action against suspects,”Lawsuit Planned over Assaulted California Teen Suicide | TIME.com,” and “California teens face sexual assault charges after girl’s suicide .”
Various taboo reactions to suicide, for example, are common to cultures around the word
New research from Concordia University shows that, no matter where it occurs, a veil of shame and sense of taboo surround suicide. These attitudes often force those affected to grieve alone and can produce feelings of helplessness and despair.
The project was a success on two levels: using art to facilitate suicide awareness and finding themes that transcend cultural boundaries. Explains Silverman according to the news release, Breaking the silence of suicide, “Our findings offer a new method of bringing out complex feelings associated with suicide. By showing that different communities and cultures are all connected around this issue, we can begin to help with healing – and with and breaking the silence.” Check out the video, “Breaking the Silence on Suicide | ksl.com.”
Music therapy may offer hope for people with depressionIn another study done back in 2008, research on psychotherapy and the arts, particularly music therapy, from The Cochrane Library showed that a therapist may be able to use music to help some patients fight depression and improve, restore and maintain their health, states a Systematic Review from The Cochrane Library.
About 121 million people world-wide are believed to suffer from depression. This can be seen in disturbed appetite, sleep patterns and overall functioning as well as leading to low self-esteem and feelings of worthlessness and guilt. It can lead to suicide and is associated with 1 million deaths a year.
Drugs and psychotherapy are common treatments, but a group of Cochrane researchers set out to see whether there was evidence that music therapy could deliver benefits.
After searching the international literature, they identified five studies that met their criteria. Four of these reported greater reduction in symptoms of depression among people who had been given music therapy than those who had been randomly assigned to a therapy group that did not involve music. The fifth study, however, did not find this effect.
“While the evidence came from a few small studies, it suggests that this is an area that is well worth further investigation and, if the use of music therapy is supported by future trials, we need to find out which forms have greatest effect,” says lead author Anna Maratos, an Arts Therapist who works in the Central and Northwest London Foundation NHS Trust, London, UK, according to the January 22, 2008 news release, “Music therapy may offer hope for people with depression.”
“The current studies indicate that music therapy may be able to improve mood and has low drop-out rates,” says Maratos in the news release. “It’s important to note that at the moment there are only a small number of relatively low quality studies in this area, and we will only be able to be confident about the effectiveness of music therapy once some high quality trials have been conducted,” says Maratos in the news release. For more information, check out the January 23, 2008 podcast from the author at the Chochrane.org Podcasts site.