Art therapy among palliative cancer patients: Aesthetic dimensions

publicité
PAX 15-101
Palliative and Supportive Care (2015), 0, 1 – 5.
# Cambridge University Press, 2015 1478-9515/15
doi:10.1017/S1478951515001017
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Art therapy among palliative cancer patients:
Aesthetic dimensions and impacts on symptoms
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CÉDRIC LEFÈVRE,
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Centre de Soins Palliatifs, Centre Hospitalier Lyon-Sud, Hospices Civils de Lyon, Pierre-Bénite, France
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PH.D.,
MATHILDE LEDOUX,
M.D., AND
MARILÈNE FILBET,
M.D.
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(RECEIVED March 17, 2015; ACCEPTED July 6, 2015)
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ABSTRACT
Objective: This study aimed to explore whether aesthetic beauty and the pleasure that results
from artistic activity can contribute to a reduction in the symptoms experienced by palliative
care patients, and to improve the effectiveness of art therapy sessions.
Method: A self-assessment of six symptoms (pain, anxiety, ill-being, tiredness, sadness, and
depression) adapted from the Edmonton Symptom Assessment System (ESAS) was completed by
patients before and after a one-hour art therapy session. This assessment was completed after the
session with a self-assessment of aesthetic feeling. A correlation analysis was then performed.
Results: From July of 2012 to December of 2013, 28 patients took part in 63 art therapy
sessions. On the whole, these sessions reduced the global distress of patients by 47%
( p , 0.0001). There was a significant reduction in all the symptoms studied; pain ( p ¼ 0.003),
anxiety ( p , 0.0001), ill-being ( p , 0.0001), tiredness ( p , 0.0001), sadness ( p , 0.0001), and
depression ( p , 0.0001). A study of the significant correlations (0.35 , rs , 0.52, p , 0.05)
indicated that technical satisfaction, aesthetic beauty, and pleasure are all involved to varying
degrees in reduction of symptoms.
Significance of results: Our findings confirm the benefits of art therapy in reducing distress
within the palliative context. We also make suggestions for the future direction and
improvement of these sessions.
KEYWORDS: Art therapy, Palliative care, Cancer, Symptoms, Aesthetic
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INTRODUCTION
reduction (Nainis et al., 2006; Rhondali et al., 2013) and
as a coping mechanism that enhances the well-being
(Bar-Sela et al., 2007; Forzoni et al., 2010; Lin et al.,
2012; Oster et al., 2006; Thyme et al., 2009) of patients
with cancer.
During a session, three dimensions of the aesthetic
feeling, self-assessed by the patient, can contribute
to the effect of the art therapy (Forestier, 2009;
2004): the GOOD, which is associated with the pleasure the patient experiences while doing the activity
and his/her desire to continue that activity; the
WELL, which is associated with the technical satisfaction with creating something; and the BEAUTIFUL,
which is associated with the aesthetic satisfaction achieved when carrying out the work.
These three dimensions are the basis for the “harmonic cube,” a self-assessment tool that has been developed over the past 12 years by the school of art
therapy in Tours (Forestier, 2009; 2004). These
Increasing numbers of patients with cancer use complementary therapies in order to improve their quality of life (Horneber et al., 2012; Klafke et al., 2012).
Art therapy can be defined as “the exploitation of the
artistic potential of a person with a humanitarian
and therapeutic goal” (Forestier, 2009). It includes
the patient’s characteristics as well as the physical
and psychological dimensions of their distress. This
is one of the reasons why this type of therapy has
been employed with greater frequency over the past
two decades (Wood et al., 2011; Geue et al., 2010).
The scientific literature contains a large number of
studies on the effectiveness of art therapy for symptom
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Address correspondence and reprint request to: Marilène Filbet, Centre de Soins Palliatifs, Centre Hospitalier Lyon-Sud, Hospices Civils de Lyon, 165 Chemin du Grand Revoyet, 69310
Pierre-Bénite, France. E-mail: [email protected]
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dimensions are a means for analyzing the complex of
feelings involved in an art therapy session.
Our self-assessment tool has two objectives: (1) to
provide a frame within which to measure how the patient’s aesthetic taste evolves, and (2) to allow the patient to self-assess their work in each consecutive
session.
The purpose of our study, based on self-assessment
by patients of their aesthetic experience, was to look
at the impact of one or more art therapy sessions on
the symptoms (pain, anxiety, ill-being, sadness, and
depression) of inpatients in a palliative care unit.
Lefèvre et al.
chological distress of our patients. Our self-assessment tool excluded four symptoms that were not
sensitive to art therapy according to various studies
(Nainis et al., 2006; Rhondali et al., 2013): nausea,
drowsiness, loss of appetite, and dyspnea. We added
the “sadness” symptom. Although sadness is not a
validated symptom for the ESAS, it seemed more relevant to assess sadness and depression, since depression cannot be relieved in such a short amount of time.
Patients were invited to complete the modified
ESAS five minutes before and five minutes after
each session.
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METHOD
Recruited Patients
The patients were gradually recruited from an acute
palliative care unit over a period of 18 months.
Among the inclusion criteria were an advanced cancer diagnosis, the ability to communicate in French,
an ability to take part in an hour-long art therapy
session, and the ability to complete all the self-assessments. Some 28 patients were recruited (21 women and 7 men) for a total of 63 art therapy sessions.
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Aesthetic Dimensions Assessment
Using the same type of visual scale, three dimensions—the GOOD, the WELL, and the BEAUTIFUL—were self-assessed by patients five minutes
after the session based on the “harmonic cube” (Forestier, 2009; 2004) model, developed in France. In respect of GOOD, 0 corresponds to “a lot of pleasure”
and 10 to “no pleasure at all.” With respect to WELL,
0 corresponds to “very well done” and 10 to “done
badly.” As for BEAUTIFUL, 0 corresponds to “I like
it a lot” and 10 to “I don’t like it.”
Intervention in Art Therapy
Patients took part in at least one session facilitated
by a qualified art therapist. Several days before the
session, each patient was invited to choose his/her
preferred medium of artwork. The choice of technique and subject depended mainly on the patient’s
preferences and physical abilities to produce something that was meaningful for them. Different art
techniques were employed: painting, drawing, photography, modeling, and sculpture. The session could
take place in the patient’s room or in a studio outside
the unit, depending on the patient’s wishes and their
physical abilities. The art therapist focused primarily on the technical aspect of the artwork. Depending
on the project and the length of the stay of the patient, from 1 to 10 hour-long session(s) were offered.
Symptom Assessment Procedure
The Edmonton Symptom Assessment System
(ESAS) is a self-assessment tool that allows patients
to document the intensity of nine frequently occurring symptoms (pain, nausea, tiredness, drowsiness,
loss of appetite, dyspnea, depression, anxiety, and
feelings of ill-being) using a visual scale ranging
from 0 (no symptom) to 10 (worst symptom). Use of
the ESAS for patients with cancer has shown good
test – retest reliability (Bruera et al., 1991; 1989;
Chang et al., 2000; Richardson & Jones, 2009). We
used a modified ESAS to assess the physical and psy-
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Data Analysis
Statistical analyses were carried out with R 2014
software for Mac (R Core Team, 2014).
We employed nonparametric statistical tests in order to eliminate an hypothesis based on our sampling
distribution. The Wilcoxon test for paired samples
was used to compare data for variables before and after an intervention. The Mann –Whitney test was
utilized to compare the effect of the first session on
the symptoms and three dimensions of the aesthetic.
A Friedman test was also used to compare the three
dimensions of the aesthetic. Links between the variables were studied by means of the correlation matrix
of Spearman. We used ClustOfVar, an R package for
clustering our variables.
In all our statistical evaluations, p values of 0.05
or less were considered statistically significant.
The study was approved by the ethics committee
and institutional review board of the Hospices Civils
de Lyon.
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RESULTS
Of the 28 patients recruited, 22 were included in the
analysis, for a total of 53 art therapy sessions. Six
patients were excluded because of incomplete selfassessment.
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Art therapy among palliative cancer patients
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Patient Characteristics
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Of the 22 total patients, 16 were women and 6 men
(see Table 1). The median age at baseline was 56.5
years, and the median time until death was 43
days, with an exception of 5 patients still living.
The diagnoses were split between hematological,
breast, head and neck, gastrointestinal, lung, urological, and other cancers. Across all our results,
the two genders did not show any significant
difference.
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Fig. 1 - B/W online
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The Symptoms
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The hour-long art therapy session had a significant
effect on global distress (sum of the six symptoms)
and on each individual symptom (Figure 1). Global
distress was on average reduced by 47% ( p ,
0.0001). During 53 sessions, only 1 produced an increased distress by 12.3%. Taken individually, the reduction in symptoms strongly varied from one person
to another. On average, the standard deviation for
the percentage of reduction was 60.8%.
Before a session, the self-assessed scores for sadness and depression were not significantly different
( p ¼ 0.407) and were the more strongly correlated
of all the symptoms (rs ¼ 0.9). After a session, the
scores for sadness and depression were significantly
different at risk (a ¼ 8%), with a very slight inflexion
of the correlation (rs ¼ 0.88). The strongest correlation after a session was observed between depression
and anxiety (rs ¼ 0.89).
We noted that all the symptoms before the session
were all significantly correlated with each other
(0.28 , rs , 0.90, p , 0.05). This situation was the
same after a session (0.41 , rs , 0.89, p , 0.05),
with an average correlation rate significantly higher
than the one obtained before the session ( p ¼ 0.002).
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Fig. 1. Impact of an art therapy session on symptoms.
Age (median + SD, range,
in years)
Gender
Female
Male
Cancer diagnosis
Hematological
Breast
Head and neck
Gastrointestinal
Lung
Urological
Other cancer
Time until death (median + SD,
range, in days)
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The Effect of the First Session
The effects on global distress and individual symptoms for the first and subsequent sessions were not
significantly different ( p 0.2). The effect of an art
therapy session on symptoms did not depend on the
number of sessions.
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The Three Dimensions of the Aesthetic
Self-assessment of the three dimensions of the aesthetic after a session revealed significant differences
( p ¼ 0.0003). On average, the score for GOOD was
higher than that for BEAUTIFUL, which in turn
was higher than that for WELL. The standard deviations followed an opposite order.
The GOOD, the WELL and the BEAUTIFUL were
linked by significant correlation rates higher than
rs ¼ 0.6.
The aesthetic experience was significantly greater
for sessions following the first session for the WELL
( p ¼ 0.008) and the BEAUTIFUL ( p ¼ 0.004). It
was significantly greater for the first session for the
GOOD ( p ¼ 0.039).
Table 1. Patient characteristics
Characteristics
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n
%
56.5 + 10.7 (30–85)
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43 + 138 (3– ?)
Symptoms and the Three Dimensions of the
Aesthetic
Our analysis of the Spearman correlations matrix
(Table 2) indicates that the dimension of the GOOD
(pleasure felt by the patient) was significantly correlated ( p , 0.05) with the percentage of reduction in
global distress. The dimensions of the GOOD and
the WELL (a feeling of having done things correctly)
were both correlated to the percentage reduction in
pain, anxiety, and ill-being ( p , 0.05). The dimension of the WELL was also correlated with the percentage reduction in sadness and depression ( p ,
0.05). The dimension of the BEAUTIFUL was correlated with the percentage reduction in pain ( p ,
0.05).
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Lefèvre et al.
Table 2. Correlations matrix (Spearman) of the three
dimensions of the aesthetic and symptomatic reductions
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Pain (% reduction)
Anxiety
(% reduction)
Feeling of ill-being
(% reduction)
Tiredness
(% reduction)
Sadness
(% reduction)
Depression
(% reduction)
Total distress
(% reduction)
GOOD
WELL
BEAUTIFUL
20.374*
20.454*
20.456*
20.470*
20.517*
20.279
20.471*
20.308*
20.263
20.186
0.019
20.198
20.399*
20.163
20.288
20.393*
20.170
20.352*
20.287
20.222
0.000
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*p , 0.05.
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The cluster analysis carried out with the ClustOfVar R package confirmed the data correlations. We
found that GOOD was very closely associated with
reduction in anxiety and ill-being, WELL showed a
very close relationship with reduction in anxiety,
while BEAUTIFUL was associated with reduction
in pain.
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DISCUSSION
According to previously available studies, art therapy sessions mainly focus on the fine arts, last about
an hour and a half, and reduce almost by half
(247%) the symptomatology of patients with cancer
(Nainis et al., 2006; Rhondali et al., 2013). Even the
experience of tiredness, which is the most prevalent
of symptoms (average ¼ 3.9), reduces on average by
36% after a person is stimulated for an hour, illustrating the physical and psychological impact of sessions.
From a neurophysiological point of view, this beneficial impact can partly be explained by the pleasure
the patients experience and self-assess. Numerous
studies have revealed that the “aesthetic emotion”
that a patient feels after having listened “actively”
to music activates dopaminergic circuits (Archie
et al., 2013; Zatorre & Salimpoor, 2013). Furthermore, if a musical activity takes place, the brain releases endorphins (Dunbar et al., 2012). Some
correlations could even suggest some comparable
neurobiological effects gained from the practice of
fine arts. The correlations between pleasure experienced (GOOD) and global distress reduction, as
well as between aesthetic emotion (BEAUTIFUL)
and pain reduction, seem to underline the same
fact. The fact that distress, particularly the experi-
ence of pain (Chardon, 2010), is quickly reduced
(within less than an hour), but for short periods of
time (less than 12 hours), seems to be compatible
with this neurophysiological hypothesis.
We can infer a psychological explanation that is related to self-confidence and to a feeling of existing independently from the status of an ill person. The
dimension of the WELL self-assessed by patients is
related in a more or less complex way to their selfconfidence (Forestier, 2009; 2004; 2007). The more a
patient feels satisfied with their work, the more
they will feel confident of succeeding again in the future. We noted that this dimension of the WELL is related in particular to anxiety reduction. The feeling
of mastering an artistic technique, even a small
one, could result in improved self-confidence and decreased anxiety. The fact that the self-assessed
WELL item improved after the first session indeed
seems to indicate a positive effect on self-confidence.
Studies in the literature dedicated to art therapy
omit this dimension of the WELL. Yet it appears
that it could play a role in providing a therapeutic effect. Artistic technique is a very important element
when considering art therapy, particularly in a palliative situation, where time is limited. Instead of being cared for in a passive way, the patient is able to
take a more active role during art therapy. This in
turn changes the attitude of family members and professional carers, who no longer perceive the patient
as a “person with cancer” (Wood et al., 2011). The
feeling of existing, of being able to do and succeed,
could thus contribute to improved symptoms.
We can assume that a patient who enjoyed a session and is aware of the implications of the selfassessment before and after the session might
conform to the expectations of the art therapist,
that is, to overassess the positive impact of the session, after their first experience of one. The absence
of a significant difference between the first and following sessions is a good indicator that leads us to assume that those assessment biases are not too
significant. We could also have expected that the initial distress, in the context of various sessions, would
be reduced by an anticipatory effect. The data reveal
no significant difference in level of initial distress.
This anticipatory effect and its positive effect on patients could partly be concealed by a quick deterioration of the patient’s health. For the therapist, a single
session seems as therapeutic on the symptomatic level
as a greater number of sessions. In palliative care
patients, where time is short, it could be appropriate
to suggest an art therapy session at any stage, even
at the end of life.
The art therapy session and its positive effects on
well-being could also have an effect on better identification of feelings, as the data relative to pain and
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sadness suggest, those two symptoms being the most
importantly correlated before sessions (rs ¼ 0.9). Before a session, self-assessments of sadness and depression were identical ( p ¼ 0.407), whereas they
were different after at the risk (a ¼ 8%, p ¼ 0.076).
If this hypothesis were proved correct, art therapy
could prove to be a useful tool in palliative care, particularly when patients have to make important decisions requiring self-awareness of their situation.
Given the limitations of this work owing to the
number of participants (53 sessions and 22 patients),
the absence of a control group, and its monocentric
nature, generalization of our results cannot be assured. However, the great statistical significance of
symptomatic benefits after an art therapy session indicates and confirms very encouraging tendencies for
patients and nursing staff. The “harmonic cube”
model seems to be interesting and innovative in research and could contribute to better comprehension
of the internal processes involved in art therapy.
These results are an incentive for us to pursue further studies about the effectiveness of art therapy
that would involve a larger number of participants
with control groups and at many different centers.
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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The authors wish to thank Avril Jackson and Léa Monsarrat for their translation and proofreading.
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