Literature and art therapy in post-stroke psychological disorders

Tohoku J Exp Med. 2015 Jan;235(1):17-23. doi: 10.1620/tjem.235.17.


Stroke is one of the leading causes of morbidity and long-term disability worldwide, and post-stroke depression (PSD) is a common and serious psychiatric complication of stroke. PSD makes patients have more severe deficits in activities of daily living, a worse functional outcome, more severe cognitive deficits and increased mortality as compared to stroke patients without depression. Therefore, to reduce or prevent mental problems of stroke patients, psychological treatment should be recommended. Literature and art therapy are highly effective psychological treatment for stroke patients. Literature therapy divided into poetry and story therapy is an assistive tool that treats neurosis as well as emotional or behavioral disorders. Poetry can add impression to the lethargic life of a patient with PSD, thereby acting as a natural treatment. Story therapy can change the gloomy psychological state of patients into a bright and healthy story, and therefore can help stroke patients to overcome their emotional disabilities. Art therapy is one form of psychological therapy that can treat depression and anxiety in stroke patients. Stroke patients can express their internal conflicts, emotions, and psychological status through art works or processes and it would be a healing process of mental problems. Music therapy can relieve the suppressed emotions of patients and add vitality to the body, while giving them the energy to share their feelings with others. In conclusion, literature and art therapy can identify the emotional status of patients and serve as a useful auxiliary tool to help stroke patients in their rehabilitation process.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Art Therapy*
  • Depression / etiology
  • Depression / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Literature*
  • Mental Disorders / etiology*
  • Stroke / complications
  • Stroke / psychology*
  • Stroke / therapy*