By: Kelsey Spelich

Early 500 BCE/Ancient Greece:

  • Ancient Greeks employed drama and music as a means to help the disturbed. The connection and importance of music in the lives of the Greeks is symbolized in the Greek god, Apollo, who was both the god of music and the god of medicine. Plato and Aristotle often talked about the effects of music and its importance to the health of the whole person.[1]

Middle Ages (5th to 15th Century):

  • European, African, Native American, and Asian cultures utilized music, dance, painting, and literature as healing forces.[1]

Late 1800’s to 1900’s:

  • The idea of using the arts to adjunct medical treatment emerged alongside the advent of psychiatry. This was during the movement to provide more human treatments of people with mental illness and “moral therapy.”[1]

1923:

  • J. L Moreno the founder of psychodrama, proposed the use of enactment as a way to restore mental health.[1]

1930’s:

  • Art therapy was first organized and psychiatrists studied the artwork of patients to see if there was a link between the art and the illness of their patients.[2]

1940’s – 1950’s:

  • Art therapy as a field began simultaneously in the U.S. and The United Kingdom. Books on art therapy with psychiatric patients contributed to the theoretical and clinical materials of the field.[2]

1950:

  • The National Association for Music Therapy (NAMT) was organized to standardize training and promote unity among providers.[2]

1959:

  • The American Medical Association acknowledged the position of music therapy by inviting the NAMT to send a representative to a meeting of the American Medical Association Joint Committee to Study Paramedical Areas in Relation to Medicine.[2]

1966:

  • Cleveland Clinic in partnership with Cleveland Music Settlement establish the Center for Music Therapy to positively impact the lives of children and adults facing a wide range of life’s challenges[3]

1969:

  • The American Art Therapy Association (AATA) was founded.[2]

1982:

  • In 1982, the International Society for Music in Medicine was founded in Lu Denscheid, Germany.[2]

1987:

  • Depression study using art as therapy shows marked improvement in patients using Family Drawing Depression Scale (FDDS).[2]

2010:

  • American Journal of Public Health publish “The Connection Between Art, Healing, and Public Health: A Review of Current Literature” the review of systematic and controlled studies examining the therapeutic effects of arts in healing, found positive findings but concluded more research is needed.[6]

2013:

  • Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), habilitation services (which include Alternative Therapy and Expressive Therapy) will now be widely covered for the first time in private insurance plans in 2014. But as is the case with some of the other “essential benefits,” the federal health law mandates coverage of habilitation services without spelling out exactly what that means. The states, together with insurers and advocacy groups, will determine what services and how much, is covered.  [5]

[1]  Gladding, Samuel T. The Creative Arts in Counseling. 4th ed. Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association, 2011. Print.

[2] Pratt, Rosalie Rebollo. “Art, Dance, and Music Therapy.” Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America 15.4 (2004): 827-41. Print.

[3] Cleveland Clinic information on arts and medicine website http://my.clevelandclinic.org/arts_medicine/therapy-performance-education/art-music-therapy.aspx

 [4] Stuckey, Heather L., and Jeremy Nobel. “The Connection Between Art, Healing, and Public Health: A Review of Current Literature.” American Journal of Public Health 100.2 (2010): 254-63. Print.

[5] Ollove, Michael. “‘Habilitation’ among New Obamacare Benefits.” USA Today. Gannett Company, 24 Oct. 2013. Web. 25 Jan. 2014. <http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/10/24/stateline-obamacare-habilitation/3177503/>.

[6] Stuckey, Heather L., and Jeremy Nobel. “The Connection Between Art, Healing, and Public Health: A Review of Current Literature.” American Journal of Public Health 100.2 (2010): 254-63. Print.