Effectiveness Of Both Cbt And Art Therapy On Coping Mechanism


The Social work intern is currently interning at Sheltering Arms and Family Service. Sheltering Arms is a non-profit organization established in 1831. The population that is assisted is very diverse in all categories whether it’s ethnicity, race or all ages. The services it offers fall in between the categories of education, youth development and community well-being. This includes the spectrum of services such as early childhood education, after school programs, youth centers, foster care and adoption as well as other services that fall within mental well-being, family preservation and developmental disability services. The social work intern works as a case planner in the foster care unit. The organization’s main priority is to ensure the well-being of children in foster care as well as their family members who may be in need of resources.

Research Question

As a Social work Intern at Sheltering Arms and family services, one may wonder how effective the therapy might be specially in regard to the development of coping mechanisms. Therefore, the research question that has been composed is “Does conventional cognitive therapy help develop effective coping skills for adulthood when compared to art therapy effectiveness?”.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has been used as a psycho-social intervention with the goal of improving mental health of individuals. In regard to improvement of mental health it’s the acknowledgement of refining emotional behaviors as well as the development of coping strategies in order for the individual to be able to use these coping mechanisms during life circumstance. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is considered a short-term therapy considering it varieties from as little of 5 sessions. Research suggests that although Cognitive Behavioral therapy is not necessarily guaranteed to cure a specific condition or make hostile life events disappear it is proven to implement individuals with control of empowering coping mechanisms that can be used the next time the individual might feel the need to do so. It is also said that the factor that is most important for the level of effectiveness to be increased is active participation considering it’s based on sharing and empowerment of partialize in decision making. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is used in many settings including family therapy or couple therapy. According to the “Journal of Marital and Family Therapy” it states that “The focus on cognitions and behaviors in treatment is now widely embraced by marriage and family therapists because of the effectiveness of the approach and its flexibility and integrative potential” (Dattilio & Epstein, 2005, p.7). This means that working within the cognitive behavioral parameters even within a group setting such as a family has demonstrated the utilization of adaptation to circumstances presented in life. According to the “Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology” it is shown that the aspect of self-governance as a reinforcer is the main component of efficacy in Cognitive Behavioral therapy. 

Overall, there is a line drawn across the board where Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has been proven effective under variate circumstances such as dementia. In the “Journal of Gerontological Social Work” it states, “The primary outcome from this pilot study is that caregivers with mood, anxiety, or adjustment disorders who were willing and able to take part in an intensive, empirically validated group CBT intervention demonstrated evidence of clinically significant improvements on measures of mood, cognitive functioning, and caregiver burden”. In a study done by the “National Association of Social Workers” on the effect of CBT on older adults it has reported a satisfactory level of delivery of CBT towards exposed older adults in the participant improvement as well as result measures based on a range of circumstantial situations. In addition, A study done by “Us National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health” has effectively explored the conceivable level of social support that individually convalesces the quality of life in regards to CBT based on regression analysis (LaRocca & Scogin , 2015). Overall, as the current society passes time it opens up to social changes within the structure causing individual psychosomatic concerns, leading to the exploration of social support changes through CBT for an improvement of attribute of life.

Art Therapy

Art therapy is the use of artistic method implementation as a way to facilitate expression in order to analyze the underlying emotional status within the individual’s art. This includes all types of artistic practices such as painting, sculpting, coloring and others more. Art Therapy is used all throughout the spectrum of coping with anxiety, depression, stress relieving, physical illness and others more. The population can variate from children to adults as well as individuals with disabilities. In the Journal of “Art of Social Work Practice” it states how participates who were involved in art therapy have testified how it has been beneficial regardless of the circumstance (Damianakis., 2017). In the Journal of “International Social Work” it talks about the street art of Adolescent used as a form of art therapy where the depiction of creativity leads to control and problem- solving (DiCarlo et al., 2000). What is seen in the journal mentioned previously is ultimately evidence of adolescent showing indicators of coping reactions that raised through circumstantial events of the individual’s life and through the expression of art. As mentioned previously art therapy is used through a wide scope of circumstantial conditions such as depression or any traumatic state in childhood as well as adulthood. In the journal of “Trauma, Violence and Abuse” they have used the art therapy intervention based on mandala drawings specifically and shown substantiation of effectiveness of decrease in these individuals with traumatic symptoms as well as an increase of coping responses. The spectrum of art therapy goes through a spectrum of all sorts of conditions including treating illness distress such as cancer patients. In the journal of “American Art Therapy Association” it states that there is meaningful evidence showing in the level of distress for participants post-art therapy also leading to an increase of coping skills in regard to the condition (Glinzak., 2016). The spectrum does not halt for the circumstances mentioned previously this includes posttraumatic stress disorder in adults. In addition, the journal of “Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice and Policy” it states the impact for PTSD treatment specifically regarding art therapy has shown a significant level of diminution of PTSD symptoms as well as a positive effect in managing ability (Baker et al., 2018). In sight of the references referred to in the area of art therapy it is shown that there’s essentially a positive outcome of reducing distress levels of individuals regardless of the condition of circumstances.


Analysis of both Cognitive Behavioral and Art Therapy have shown that both have a great level of efficacy or impact on treating individuals around an array of circumstances. Although, both types of therapies may overlap in the wide variety of circumstances it can assist; Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has shown to have a much more reliant level of effectiveness in regard to the development of coping responses.


  • Baker, F. A., Metcalf, O., Varker, T., & Odonnell, M. (2018). A systematic review of the efficacy of creative arts therapies in the treatment of adults with PTSD. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 10(6), 643–651. doi: 10.1037/tra0000353
  • Damianakis, T. (2007). Social Works Dialogue with the Arts: Epistemological and Practice Intersections. Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services, 88(4), 525–533. doi: 10.1606/1044-3894.3674
  • Dattilio, F. M., Epstein, N. B., (2005). Introduction To The Special Section: The Role Of Cognitive?behavioral Interventions In Couple And Family Therapy. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 31(1), 7–13. doi: 10.1111/j.1752-0606.2005.tb01539.x
  • Dicarlo, M. A., Gibbons, J. L., Kaminsky, D., Wright, J. D., & Stiles, D. A. (2000). Street childrens drawings: Windows into their life circumstances and aspirations. International Social Work, 43(1), 107–120. doi: 10.1177/a010524
  • Dwyer, L. A., Hornsey, M. J., Smith, L. G. E., Oei, T. P. S., & Dingle, G. A. (2011). Participant Autonomy in Cognitive Behavioral Group Therapy: An Integration of Self-Determination and Cognitive Behavioral Theories. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 30(1), 24–46. doi: 10.1521/jscp.2011.30.1.24
  • Glinzak, L. (2016). Effects of Art Therapy on Distress Levels of Adults with Cancer: A Proxy Pretest Study. Art Therapy, 33(1), 27–34. doi: 10.1080/07421656.2016.1127687
  • Larocca, M. A., & Scogin, F. R. (2015). The Effect of Social Support on Quality of Life in Older Adults Receiving Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Clinical Gerontologist, 38(2), 131–148. doi: 10.1080/07317115.2014.990598
  • Mackenzie, C. S., Wiprzycka, U. J., Khatri, N., & Cheng, J. (2013). Clinically Significant Effects of Group Cognitive Behavioral Therapy on Spouse Caregivers Mental Health and Cognitive Functioning: A Pilot Study. Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 56(8), 675–692. doi: 10.1080/01634372.2013.834857
  • Schouten, K. A., Niet, G. J. D., Knipscheer, J. W., Kleber, R. J., & Hutschemaekers, G. J. M. (2014). The Effectiveness of Art Therapy in the Treatment of Traumatized Adults. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 16(2), 220–228. doi: 10.1177/1524838014555032
  • Shah, A., Scogin, F., Presnell, A., Morthland, M., & Kaufman, A. V. (2013). Social Workers as Research Psychotherapists in an Investigation of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy among Rural Older Adults. Social Work Research, 37(2), 137–145. doi: 10.1093/swr/svt011
16 December 2021
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