Neurology, Neuropsychiatry, Psychosomatics

Advanced search

Art therapy possibilities in the complex treatment of patients with multiple sclerosis

Full Text:


Objective: to study the effectiveness of art therapy methods in the complex treatment of neuropsychological disorders and quality of life improvement in patients with relapsing-remitting and secondary-progressive multiple sclerosis (MS).

Patients and methods. A group of 42 patients (5 men and 37 women, mean age 32.9 years, mean EDSS severity 3.8 points) with MS underwent outpatient continuous active art therapy cycle. The mean group training cycle duration was six months. The comparison group included 15 age- and sex-adjusted individuals without neurological disorders. Tests on various drawing topics were carried out before and after a three-month therapy course. We used Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) to assess the severity of anxiety and depression and the SF-36 scale to evaluate the quality of life (QoL).

Results and discussion. Before the art therapy start, light blue, yellow, pink, blue, and green colors prevailed in the drawings. There was no predominance of any color depending on MS severity or course. The green color predominated in this test in the control group, and the light blue color was significantly less represented. The art therapy course did not lead to a significant change in the severity of MS according to the 

Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS). After the art therapy course, the color scheme of the drawings was mainly represented by red, light blue, green, yellow, and blue colors. In addition, a red-orange color appeared in the drawings, which was completely absent before the course. Positive trends were noted according to HADS: a decrease in anxiety by 23% and depression by 19%. The physical component of QoL assessed by the SF-36 scale did not change substantially, but the psychological component significantly improved by 11%.

Conclusion. The predominance of light blue color observed in MS is associated with damage to the nervous and musculoskeletal systems, and blue color – with psychological problems and depression. However, after a course of art therapy for MS, red, red-orange, yellow, and green colors representation increased significantly, which indicates an increase in positive attitude, a decrease in the level of depression, and an improvement in QoL.

About the Authors

M. E. Guseva
N.I. Pirogov Russian National Research Medical University, Ministry of Health of Russia; Institute of Interdisciplinary Medicine
Russian Federation

Department of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Medical Genetics

1, Ostrovityanov St., Moscow 117997
18, Rybinskaya 3-ya St., Build. 19, Moscow 107113

O. V. Matvievskaya
Interregional Public Organization of Disabled People «Moscow Society of Multiple Sclerosis»
Russian Federation

7, Planernaya St., Build. 1, Moscow 125480

A. N. Boyko
N.I. Pirogov Russian National Research Medical University, Ministry of Health of Russia; Federal Center of Brain and Neurotechnologies, FMBA of Russia
Russian Federation

Aleksey Nikolaevich Boyko

Department of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Medical Genetics

Department of Neuroimmunology

1, Ostrovityanov St., Moscow 117997
1, Ostrovityanov St., Build 10, Moscow 117997


1. Boyko AN, Guseva ME, Sivertseva SA. Nemedikamentoznyye metody lecheniya i obraz zhizni pri rasseyannom skleroze [Non-drug treatment methods and lifestyle in multiple sclerosis]. Moscow: GEOTAR-Media; 2015. 239 p. (In Russ.).

2. Newland P, Miller R, Bettencourt BA, Hendricks-Ferguson V. Pilot Study of Videos to Deliver Mindfulness-Based Art Therapy for Adults With Multiple Sclerosis. J Neurosci Nurs. 2020;52(6):E19-E23. doi: 10.1097/JNN.0000000000000547

3. Van Geel F, van Asch P, Veldkamp R, Feys P. Effects of a 10-week multimodal dance and art intervention program leading to a public performance in persons with multiple sclerosisA controlled pilot-trial. Mult Scler Relat Disord. 2020;44:102256. doi: 10.1016/j.msard.2020.102256

4. Newland P, Bettencourt BA. Effectiveness of mindfulness-based art therapy for symptoms of anxiety, depression, and fatigue: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2020;41:101246. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2020.101246

5. Thompson AJ, Banwell BL, Barkhof F, et al. Diagnosis of multiple sclerosis: 2017 revisions of the McDonald criteria. Lancet Neurol. 2018;17(2):162-73. doi: 10.1016/S1474-4422(17)30470-2

6. Patti F, Russo P, Pappalardo A, et al. Predictors of quality of life among patients with multiple sclerosis: an Italian cross-sectional study. J Neurol Sci. 2007;252(2):121-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jns.2006.10.017

7. Boyko OV, Tatarinova MYu, Popova EV, et al. The improvement of quality of life of patients with multiple sclerosis over 15-year period. Zhurnal nevrologii i psikhiatrii im. S.S. Korsakova. 2018;118(8-2):23-8. doi: 10.17116/jnevro201811808223 (In Russ.).

8. Guseva ME. Art therapy for multiple sclerosis. In: Gusev EI, Boyko AN. Rasseyannyy skleroz. Nauchno-prakticheskoye rukovodstvo [Multiple sclerosis. Scientific and practical guide]. Moscow: ROOI «Human Health»; 2020. Vol. 2. P. 461-76 (In Russ.).

9. Jang SH, Lee JH, Lee HJ, Lee SY. Effects of Mindfulness-Based Art Therapy on Psychological Symptoms in Patients with Coronary Artery Disease. J Korean Med Sci. 2018;33(12):e88. doi: 10.3346/jkms.2018.33.e88

10. Lebedeva LD, Nikonorova YuV, Tarakanova NA. Entsiklopediya priznakov i interpretatsiy v proyektivnom risovanii i art-terapii [Encyclopedia of signs and interpretations in projective drawing and art therapy]. St. Petersburg: Rech, 2010. 332 p. (In Russ.).

11. Abbott RA, Whear R, Rodgers LR, et al. Effectiveness of mindfulness-based stress reduction and mindfulness based cognitive therapy in vascular disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. J Psychosom Res. 2014;76(5):341-51. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2014.02.012

12. Nyklicek I, Dijksman SC, Lenders PJ, et al. A brief mindfulness based intervention for increase in emotional well-being and quality of life in percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) patients: the MindfulHeart randomized controlled trial. J Behav Med. 2014;37(1):135-44. doi: 10.1007/s10865-012-9475-4

13. Malygin VL, Boyko AN, Konovalova OE, et al. Influence of psychopathological factors and personality traits on the results of the study of quality of life in patients with multiple sclerosis. Zhurnal nevrologii i psikhiatrii im. S.S. Korsakova. 2019;119(2-2):42-8. doi: 10.17116/jnevro20191192242 (In Russ.).


For citations:

Guseva M.E., Matvievskaya O.V., Boyko A.N. Art therapy possibilities in the complex treatment of patients with multiple sclerosis. Neurology, Neuropsychiatry, Psychosomatics. 2021;13(1S):45-49. (In Russ.)

Views: 737

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

ISSN 2074-2711 (Print)
ISSN 2310-1342 (Online)