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[Translate to English:] ICAAT Malen

Therapies – Painting and Drawing

Therapeutic Painting and Drawing is an art therapy and a therapeutic method of anthroposophy serving formative growth. By activating and impulsing soul potency and vigour of thinking, feeling and will individual latitude and personal recovery can be attained.

Self-regulation and self-reliance in everyday life should be rendered possible and capabilities activated.
The therapeutic approach is oriented towards actions and experiences in the field of visual arts. By appliance of imagination, sensual impressions, feelings and reflections pictures are originated as paintings, drawings or collages.

Diagnosis and intervention are oriented by Rudolf Steiner’s proposed conceptions of the human being and by the phenomenology of Goethe. Body, life, soul and mind of the healthy or diseased personality become all together acknowledged and respected. Anthroposophic art therapy is fully oriented towards human needs.
By artistic practice the soul-oriented impacts can have effects into physiology. Congealment can be freed to move again and vitalized. Distemper will be guarded and calmed. As the artistic process comes along with human life processes like search, experiment, adventure, overturn, recommencement, internalisation, perception and activity it will stimulate, promote and support health.

Painting and Drawing Therapy is offered stationary and ambulant in therapeutics, clinics, centres of rehabilitation, curative and special needs educational institutions, social-therapeutic facilities, in the penal system and in the field of international emergency and disaster management missions.
In some European countries the health insurance covers the costs of medically attested art therapy. The national professional institutions and therapists grant willingly information.

Please contact the professional association of your country to find therapists in your area.



Each one of us happened to be touched, confused or puzzled by a picture or tableau, being amused or enlivened, wallowed sensually in the pleasure of colours, shaken to the core or just left aloof. Tableaus expand the field of the soul and admit to draw breath or make one uneasy and aggrieved in chest and belly.

The process of configuration impacts the client: geometric and objective-perspective drawing awaken structural and form-building potencies. Rhythmical form-drawing directly impulses heartbeat and respiration. If highly diluted water colours by rhythmical strokes of the brush are fixed to the surface, form develops very slowly in the process of the translucent application. The soul follows, stays in the process between movement and concretion and enjoys the lightful colour of transparent ink to the full. Soft and filmy drawings of pigment powder on absorbing cardboard impulse dreamlike sensual impressions and warm thoroughly in the slow colouring process.

The head and the thoughts become free, relieved or called on to concentrate and restructure. Feelings find an expression or are roused by experiencing the colours. Actions are taken purposeful and with consideration or (on the contrary) spontaneously and freshly. Is this successfully done, the artist painter feels well balanced and deeply bodily well: coldness and warmth processes and also the respiration are settled and newly adjusted. The experimental, searching, discovering and researching attitude dominates to overcome, change habits that disturb the own development and to find and unfold new perspectives.

It is essential to be active on its own terms, to intervene, to be in flux, experiment, to dare to tear down everything and start anew or to rest, arrive, come to terms with oneself and to relish. Impacts and efficacy of art therapy are based on (long-term) empirical research to which academic research of the last years added confirmation and differentiation (also see menu item research).The basic insight of processes and laws of culture-originating art by humans (like architecture, sculpture, painting, music, singing, poetry) has retroacting impulses, because humans are created by similar processes and laws, e.g. straightened up body composition, rhythmically active organism, colour inclined soul sentiment, musical objectivity and brilliant self-expression.


Applications examples

Purposeful applied exercises in painting and drawing can modify a disturbed soul-body structure. The art process, colours and forms can affect soul and body. Frozen structures become versatile, chaotic tendencies get integrated and eased.

Inspiration, structure, concentration, certitude und precise instructions:
Objective drawing, copying of tableaus, free-hand geometry drawing, painting along the colour theory, watercolour layering

Lightening, breathing, originating rhythm by:
Painting of the course of the day and the years, cloud images, complementary exercises, light-dark progression, rhythmical form-drawing, hatching

Immersion and impulsing, warming thoroughly by:
Abstract large-size format painting, constantly transforming referring forms: metamorphic forms, fairy tale illustrations

Relaxation and appeasing, warming thoroughly by:
Dreaming studies, slowly intensifying colour into form, drawing flow-forms by closed eyes, layering with plant colours, smooth brushwork



The experience of possibilities of visible expression and shaping disburdens and strengthens the handling of biographic crises and disease.

Indications and contraindications are derived beside clinical and psychotherapeutic diagnosis by art-therapeutic diagnosis. Willingness for artistic creation is a requirement of accomplishing painting and drawing therapy. If the client is too weak for active action, the art therapist can paint and draw substitutionally or initiate a review of the tableau (receptive painting or drawing therapy). In each single case of clinical diagnosed acute psychosis a decision about the usefulness of form-drawing is taken. In the case of acute or posttraumatic stress disorder art therapy implied by an orderly trained person in this field can be useful and supporting. Positive experiences are on hand for the following clinical diagnoses:

  • Psychic diseases
  • Brain-organic diseases and neurological deficits
  • Psychosomatic diseases
  • Physical diseases

The fourfolded and threefolded diagnosis takes in each disease a body-soul-spirit involvement in consideration.



The Training to become an Anthroposophic Art Therapist is extra-occupational or full-time at private or state-approved universities, advanced technical colleges and training schools with varying basic approaches. In Switzerland the job profile is legally protected by an advanced governmental examination. In Germany and the Netherlands governmentally accredited B.Sc nad M.Sc studies are offered. Most of the universities and colleges work on private business administration, with quality and standards being developed in self-administration. They can acquire accreditation by the Medical Section of the School of Spiritual Sciences.


Specific methods of therapeutic painting and drawing

There are a lot of possibilities and techniques in painting and drawing having specific healing impacts. Some of them are intensively substantiated by long-term individual art therapists’ experiences and became established as specific methods. Please send descriptions of methods of therapeutic painting and drawing. Presentations of this method on this site are welcome.

Painting and Drawing
watch video
click to watch the video (from Sept. 12th)