Expressive Arts Therapy as a Psychological Intervention Following Sport Injury

  • Komal Ansari
  • Farah Lalani
Keywords: Psychological Intervention, Sport Injury


Creative art practices are key constituents and interventions that can not only enhance physical performance of athletes and their subsequent sporting activity but can also help them out in recovering from injury(s). The way to achieve this is by transferring psychological skills to an injury, within an artistic rehabilitation setting, which can safeguard the well-being of the affected sports-personnel. Essentially, suggests Pennebaker (1997b), various forms of creativity exploited within psychiatric therapy – „from psychoanalysis to social, interactive, behavioral, developmental, communicative and cognitive therapies – have been shown to reduce distress and to promote physical and mental well-being‟ (p.162). One key intervention has been the practice-based technique of writing creatively (Ansari & Lalani, 2013; Duncan, et al., 2013). A more widespread practice, however, that has been effectively utilized in most sports based therapies is integrating multiple forms of the Creative Arts in rehabilitation procedures(Arvinen-Barrow & Walker, 2013). This article explores the way varied forms of creative arts – that include music, painting, sculpturing, photography, and creative writing forms such as drama, poetry, or fiction – collectively labelled as „the Expressive Arts Therapies,‟ can be successfully housed into a curative mechanism to combat sports related injuries. This proposition will be established by drawing on current research in sport psychology, which will focus on key psychological concepts concerning, and typical mental and emotional responses related to, injury; and psychosomatic aspects of rehabilitation processes. The theoretical and practical contexts of Expressive Arts disciple will also be explained in detail, which will establish how different art forms inherently complement one another once setup in a therapeutic praxis, and coupled with the multidiversified range of human expression, to relieve symptoms of emotional distress brought on by a sports injury.