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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 found that art psychotherapy was able to help children to work through trauma without the need to verbalise it and could help repair maladaptive attachment patterns. I also worked with carers and schools to offer consultation 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 I piloted these in the Angus area. I went into collabration with Dr Ross at Dundee to look at ways that we could measure the groups efficacy, we won funding to do this and eventually this has led to me joining Dundee Univerity as a research student. 

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.

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? 

Together wth 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. This will be looked at from two perspectives; studying the impact upon families with children who attend participatory arts activities as part of the DCA activity programme, and measuring the efficacy of a specific arts psychotherapy intervention which targets families with young children where the attachment relationships are considered vulnerable. 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:



Armstrong. V. G. (2013) Modelling attuned relationships in art psychotherapy with children who have had poor early experiences, The Arts in Psychotherapy, 40(3) 275-284 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aip.2013.04.002

Armstrong. V. G (2015) Growing Up: an evaluation of horticultural therapy with young people who have a learning disability, Barnardo's Scotland

Armstrong. V. G. and Howatson. R. (2015) Parent-Infant Art Psychotherapy: A Creative Dyadic Approach to Early Intervention, Infant Mental Health Journal, 36(2) 213–222 https://doi.org/10.1002/imhj.21504

Victoria Gray Armstrong, Egle Dalinkeviciute & Josephine Ross (2019) A dyadic art psychotherapy group for parents and infants – piloting quantitative methodologies for evaluation, International Journal of Art Therapy, DOI: 10.1080/17454832.2019.1590432

V. G. Armstrong & J. Ross (2020) The evidence base for art therapy with parent and infant dyads: an integrative literature review, International Journal of Art Therapy, DOI: 10.1080/17454832.2020.1724165


Education/Academic qualification

Master in Science, Queen Margaret University

Award Date: 30 Jun 2008

Master of Arts, University of Edinburgh

Award Date: 30 Jun 2005


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