Outpatient psychiatric treatment represents a less restrictive care level that enables the individual to receive treatment for their illness, while at the same time allowing the individual to maintain work and family commitments. Usually, patients who have completed inpatient treatment and are currently in recovery tend to continue receiving treatment at outpatient level (Meara et al., 2014). The outpatient setting provides the patient with an array of treatment, evaluation, and consultation interventions targeted at cognitive, psychological, or emotional issues. In this case, the patient receives an individualized treatment plan and an initial assessment including family, peer, and individual therapies that could include art therapy. Such therapies are expressive in nature and entail interventions that integrate techniques in psychotherapy with activities to promote creative expression. Therefore, outpatient psych adults may receive art therapy together with pharmacotherapy so as to improve their insight, communication, emotional expression, and the capacity to relate with others (Meara et al., 2014).

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Meara et al. (2014) find that art therapy as an intervention for outpatient psych adults is a meaningful, acceptable, and beneficial intervention; while also pointing out the difference between art as therapy and art in therapy for psych patients. In this case, art in therapy refers to the use of art as a talk-based modality component, whereas art as therapy refers to artistic endeavors that are therapeutic to the patient. Change in the outpatient occurs via physical interaction and involvement with the art materials, as well as creating significant objects of art and the sublimation of emotion into images. Further, the outpatient psych adult also communicates with the therapy provider using the objects of art. Objects used in art therapy for outpatient psych adults should also help in developing creative problem solving, along with opening up dialogue with the therapist about their emotions (Meara et al., 2014). Finally, art therapy may also help outpatient adults to build rapport or relax.

A psychiatric diagnosis is a condition which impacts the individual’s mood, feeling, or thinking, as well as their ability to relate with others, which makes peer-oriented art therapy a potentially effective intervention. Generally, people with a psychiatric diagnosis experience several effects and difficulties including coping with daily activities such as looking after children, cleaning the house, personal hygiene, getting dressed, and preparing meals (Aneshensel et al., 2013). In addition, these individual also have difficulties coping financially including problems with planning, budgeting, paying bills, and coping with emergent financial issues. Further, they also face difficulties in terms of employment as persons with psychiatric diagnoses have problems engaging with colleagues and workplace activities, as well as managing or meeting deadlines and managing their personal roles in the workplace. These patients may also have difficulties with their self-image by developing a negative body image, an inferiority complex, self-hate emotions, and anger which may lead eventually to eating disorders and extreme depression (Aneshensel et al., 2013).

Patients with psychiatric diagnoses may also isolate them-selves socially, while also developing concentration problems and anxiety disorders. Moreover, a psychiatric diagnosis also contributes to reduced capabilities in developing and maintaining functional relationship with other people. In this case, such illnesses could affect basic interactions with colleagues, friends, and family (Karow et al., 2014). In addition, they may also suffer from difficulties in nurturing relationship with others, as well as issues with intimacy or commitment; while also facing sexual health problems. Furthermore, patients with a psychiatric diagnosis have limited abilities to handle anxiety or stress and may develop insomnia where they wake up in the night thinking about the problems encountered during the day. In turn, the patient may develop sleeping disorders, which lead to feelings of exhaustion and reduced productivity. Finally, the patient’s psychiatric state could also impact their physical health directly by causing development of stomach ulcers or high blood pressure (Karow et al., 2014).

A psychiatric diagnosis could result in obstacles and difficulties across different spheres of the patient’s life as discussed above; while the leep-like haze caused by pharmacotherapy may also limit the patient’s capacity to socialize, take care of themselves, find work, or even take part in career development or education. Therefore, art therapy and particularly its teaching of creative skills provide important elements for success through personal reflection, guidance, motivation, and social interaction (Naslund et al., 2016). Life skill programs work towards remedying these difficulties through development of independent living capabilities, which in turn improves the patient’s quality of life. These coping skills developed through art therapy have various components including money management and financial awareness, talking and communication, domestic tasks, and personal health-care. Other skills that may be developed through art therapy for persons with a psychiatric diagnosis include time keeping, coping with stress, improving social skills, and forward planning (Naslund et al., 2016).

Rehabilitation for these patients is difficult, complex, and slow; which requires development of interventions to engage these persons during the recovery process. Creative therapies such as singing, dancing, poetry, music, drama, and art will help the patient in developing social skills and to enhance their capacity to interact with others (Naslund et al., 2016). Skill-building activities should be time-limited in order to assist the individual in attaining and sustaining stability by reinforcing independent living and coping skills. Art therapy, in this case, could be used to build skills related to laundry skills, organizational and housekeeping skills, budgeting assistance, providing hygiene education, management of stress, and medication management. These art therapy activities would take place in the outpatient setting or even in the home setting, where interested patients can receive help from family and friends while also interacting with them and developing social skills (Naslund et al., 2016).