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Clin Rheumatol. 2007 Sep;26(9):1523-5. Epub 2007 Apr 20.

Patients' perspective: lupus in patients' drawings. Assessing drawing as a diagnostic and therapeutic method.

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  • 1Department of Family Medicine, Medical University of Gdansk, Poland.


This is the first report from a qualitative research on lupus patients' perspective expressed in the disease drawings. The aim of the study was to examine the variety of ways of illness perception and experiences among systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients. The goal was also to assess the utility of drawing as an unconventional research method as well as a therapeutic means. Participants were 38 women with SLE. Patients attended 'My life' courses addressed to the lupus patients held in 2000-2002. During the psychological group sessions, subjects were asked to draw their disease and then to comment on their pictures. There were no time limits. The participants were ensured that their drawing abilities had no meaning. Despite initial hesitation, all of the patients drew their pictures. This report presents three lupus patients' drawings. Analysis of disease pictures reveals that they are the priceless source of information on patients' perspective and make many dimensions of living with the disease uncovered, especially psychological. This unconventional, nonverbal method allows patient to know and realize one's emotions and feelings. From health professionals' point of view, the advantage of drawing as a research method is the possibility of gaining much information that cannot be gained from interview or traditional tests alone. Drawing is a 'good beginning' to talk, it makes the patients open up to share their emotions, views, and experiences. Thus, it can be the useful therapeutic method. It can also prevent health professionals from schematization in approach to the patients with the same diagnosis.

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