Katerina Zachova

  • Designation: Charles University, First Faculty of Medicine, Department of Addictology
  • Country: Czech Republic
  • Title: Art Therapy in Addiction Treatment as A Means Of Facilitating the Therapeutic Process and Enhancing The Patient's Well-Being


Kateřina Zachová is an art therapist and drama therapist. She works at the Clinic of Addictology at the First Faculty of Medicine of The Charles University in Prague (FFM UK), the General University Hospital in Prague, and the Therapeutic Community for addiction treatment Magdalena. Her professional training is based on fine arts and therapeutic training. Since 2020, she has specialized mostly in addiction treatment. She is a Ph.D. student at the Department of Addictology of FFM UK. Her dissertation focuses on implementing the art therapy component in addiction care in the Czech Republic. 


Visual Art Therapy (ArT) belongs to creative expressive therapies. It is a traditional field with a well-developed network of educational and research institutions and evidence-based practice. ArT is applied in all types of addiction treatment for all target groups. It is a desirable complement to the prevailing CBT approaches. ArT facilitates establishing a therapeutic relationship, overcoming resistance, expressing emotions and non-verbalizable feelings, providing a safe space to work with complex topics, and reducing the risk of re-traumatization. It contributes to the release of tension and strengthens self-confidence. It offers new stimuli for self-development and well-being in after-treatment life. Compared to verbal therapy, it has tangible artifacts with which we can continue to work and follow the development of the therapy. Czech ArT has specificities determined by the socio-political context in which it has developed. One of its benefits is the psychodynamic method of Projective Interpretive ArT (PIArT) used with addiction therapy. While it places higher demands on patients, it allows for deeper introspection and more explicit insight into one's situation and relational connections. It brings benefits to both patients and therapeutic teams.

This paper presents the possibilities of ArT and PIArT in addiction treatment. The presentation draws on the literature and a questionnaire and field survey conducted in 2020 and 2024 in long-term and medium-term inpatient addiction care facilities in the Czech Republic. The field survey was conducted in 18 facilities with 30 art therapists, and the data were processed using qualitative methods.

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