Art Therapy in The Arab World

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Art therapy helps individuals explore their inner world, conflicts, strength, and experiences. It promotes human growth, development, and healing. While art therapy utilizes nonverbal expression as a means of communication, which benefits individuals from traditional and collectivistic societies, it is still novel in the Arab world. This paper aims to review art therapy and its implementation in the Arab world. A scoping review explored the implementation of visual art therapy, specifically in Arab countries. We identified relevant studies from different databases and general Internet searches. The data (n = 27 papers) were summarized and reported following data charting and extraction. Art therapy in the Arab world is present in various disciplines in general psychological support, mainly for trauma-informed interventions. In the 27 studies reviewed, participants reported feeling safe in the sessions, and art was described as a productive way to unmask emotions without violating their sociocultural needs. Art therapy was well accepted and may provide an alternative means of emotion processing. In conducting art therapy interventions with individuals from Arab societies, art therapists may encounter complex cultural, religious, and political issues. Cultural sensitivity and humility should be used to take this into consideration. Art therapists can learn from the above findings to adapt their interventions to the Arab culture and possible with other traditional and collectivistic individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101969
JournalArts in Psychotherapy
StatePublished - Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by The National Institute of Nursing Research of the National Institutes of Health under award number R01NR017186 . The content is solely the responsibility of the investigators and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Ltd


  • Arab world
  • Art therapy
  • Cultural sensitivity
  • Psychotherapy
  • Visual art therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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