The Benefits of Music-, Dance/Movement-, and Art Therapy on Improving and Retrieving Cognition and Memory with People Suffering from Korsakoff Syndrome: A Case Vignette Report

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Monique van Bruggen-Rufi, Music Therapist Farid Benkmil, Music Therapist Mijke Jansen, Arts Therapist Rita Karpati, Music Therapist Linda Lawa, Arts Therapist Regina Magnus, Dance/Movement Therapist Wouter Mol, Music Therapist Irene Serrano, Arts Therapist


This article reports about the beneficial effects of creative arts therapy on memory and cognition for patients with Korsakoff Syndrome, residing in a long term care facility specialized in the care of people with Korsakoff. Creative arts therapy is an umbrella term for healthcare professions who use the creative and expressive process of art-making to improve and enhance the psychological and social well-being of individuals of all ages and health conditions. It is a non-pharmaceutical intervention, using the power of the experience by doing rather than by speaking about the struggles in daily life.

There is still little knowledge on how creative arts therapy may contribute to improving the quality of life of patients with Korsakoff, or reducing the impairments they suffer.

In this article several case examples from the field of creative arts therapy, specifically music therapy, arts therapy and dance/movement-therapy, are described. These case examples portrait different persons with Kosakoff who benefit greatly from creative arts therapy while they are struggling with their physical and mental problems.

Typical characteristics of persons suffering from Korsakoff are memory impairment, confabulation and problems with executive functions, caused by their chronic alcohol abuse which led to developing Korsakoff. The aim of this article is to provide greater insight into how to treat patients with Korsakoff through creative arts therapy. The different case vignettes, describing the authors lived experiences, give the reader insight in the real-world context in which creative arts therapy is practiced. By giving the patients a face and a voice and showing their artistic skills, we hope to break the stigma that is chasing them: the low-life-drunks who made a big mess of their life.

Keywords: Korsakoff syndrome, Wernicke Encephalopathy, Alcohol-abuse, Confabulation, Executive functions, Memory disorder, Cognitive decline, Creative Arts therapy, Music Therapy, Arts therapy, Dance/Movement therapy

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How to Cite
BRUGGEN-RUFI, Monique van et al. The Benefits of Music-, Dance/Movement-, and Art Therapy on Improving and Retrieving Cognition and Memory with People Suffering from Korsakoff Syndrome: A Case Vignette Report. Medical Research Archives, [S.l.], v. 10, n. 4, apr. 2022. ISSN 2375-1924. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 19 may 2024. doi:
Case Reports


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