C. Singer
1953 BMJ (Clinical Research Edition)  
REVIEWS BDIC H 1435 Dr. Dax, aware that the arts had been used extensively in mental hospitals, set himself the almost impossible task of organizing the output of the creative activity of the mind under standard conditions. Thus might we use the arts scientifically in psychological medicine. Scientific assessment of this work would, he believed, enhance its diagnostic and therapeutic value. This applied also to the playing of selected music to patients. He attempted experimentally to correlate
more » ... he effects of music with the production of paintings. A record was played to the patients, and then followed nine and a half minutes of painting. These results were thought to be "statistically significant." Individual experiments were a failure because spontaneity was lost in the process, while group products were awkward material for evaluation and the results inconclusive. Far and away the most important part of this interesting and original book is Dax's description of the facilities for art work at Netherne Hospital. He had an enthusiastic and invaluable collaborator in Mr. E. J. Adamson, who was in charge of the groups engaged in painting and drawing. He showed genius in establishing the right atmosphere in which the creative imagination of the patients could easily find expression. Mr. Dax is unnecessarily apologetic about the lack of scientific validation in the artistic productions of his patients. The invisible and unrecordable accompaniments which to the artist and others are the picture cannot be measured. The " art therapy" enthusiasts (and the doubters) will find this book well worth reading. They need not worry when they cannot prove the value of the painting.
doi:10.1136/bmj.1.4825.1435 fatcat:u3k25iokv5hatmge3q334zydfy