Armstrong, Vicky


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Personal profile


Before joining Dundee, I worked for over ten years in a clinical capacity as an art psychotherapist, mainly in the voluntary sector with children who were fostered following neglect and abuse in their early years. I also offered consultation to carers and schools on how they could best support these children, who were struggling to regulate and manage their home and school worlds.
Seeing a need for early intervention to support attachments, I develped art therapy groups for parents and infants who were struggling in their relationship and piloted these in Angus. I began collabrating with Dr Ross at Dundee University to look at ways that we could measure the efficacy of these groups, we won funding to pilot our methods, and eventually this led to me joining Dundee Univerity as a research student in 2018. 
I have done additional training in MARR assessments, Adult Attachment Interviews, Parent-Infant Psychotherapy and Dyadic Art Therapy and I am accredited as reliable in the Parent Infant Relational Assessment Tool. I also deliver training in dyadic parent-infant art therapy.


Research interests

I am interested in the benefits of art making for very young children: What happens when young children make art together with their important adults? How does engagement with the arts contribute to a child’s individual development? How can we describe what is happening when making art? Can we show that art making is creating change in a measurable way? A particular focus is on the relational benefits when parents and infants are making art and how this may support attachment relationships. 
Together with Dr Josephine Ross I founded the Art at the Start project to look at these questions. In this project we are working collaboratively with the Dundee Contemporary Arts centre in order to study the impact that art participation has upon the social well-being of young children and how shared art experiences may help to build strong attachment relationships. I am looking at art making from a variety of perspectives; studying the impact upon families with children who attend participatory arts activities as part of the DCA activity programme, measuring the efficacy of a specific arts psychotherapy intervention which targets families with young children where the attachment relationships are considered vulnerable, and looking at the wellbeing impact of giving families art boxes that they can use in their home. The project aims to look for details of the behavioural changes following these participatory and therapeutic arts experiences in order to pick apart what is happening when young children make art together with their carers. 
The project website is:


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities

Education/Academic qualification

Master in Science, Art Therapy, Queen Margaret University

Award Date: 30 Jun 2008

Master of Arts, Fine Art, University of Edinburgh

Award Date: 30 Jun 2005


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