Scientific Drawing as a Potential Treatment Modality for Patients with Anorexia Nervosa

Gal Peleg, Ilaria Sterbizzi, Roni Peleg, Yulia Treister-Goltzman

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Background: Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a severe psychiatric disease that is refractory to treatment. To date, there is no effective pharmacological therapy and existing psychotherapy treatment is only partially effective. In neuropsychological terms, AN is characterized by cognitive inflexibility and an overly detailed processing style. Creating artwork and drawing requires integrative thinking that encompasses the big picture. Objectives: To describe preliminary observations of drawing treatment modality based on precise scientific drawing. Methods: The artwork method is based on the classic work by squares and on additional techniques from scientific drawing. The method was developed and implemented in a sheltered home for patients with eating disorders in Parma, Italy. Five patients, four women and one man, agreed to participate in a 10-session workshop as a part of multidisciplinary intervention. The ages of participants were 17-28 years and all had presented with AN for several years. Results: Using the method of copying drawings on squares made it possible to identify features that were common to all the patients, such as focusing on the external form of the drawing rather than on the internal details, exerting strong pressure on the pencil without consideration of the need for future corrections, drawing distorted perceptions of curves, and the adding of significant volume. Conclusions: Precise scientific drawing could be a useful instrument in the understanding and correction of a patient's distorted world and self-perspective. More evidence could be provided by further studies with a larger sample and a control group.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)460-463
    Number of pages4
    JournalIsrael Medical Association Journal
    Issue number7
    StatePublished - 1 Jul 2022


    • anorexia nervosa
    • art therapy
    • drawing
    • psychological techniques
    • weight perception

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Medicine (all)


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