Art psychotherapy practice with adults who suffer from depression in the UK: Qualitative findings from a depression-specific questionnaire

Ania Zubala (Lead / Corresponding author), Donald J. MacIntyre, Vicky Karkou

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    11 Citations (Scopus)


    The ‘global burden’ of depression demands more effective treatments. Evidence is available that arts therapies are offered to people suffering from depression. However, despite recently growing research, the ways of working and tools used by arts therapists still remain unclear. A nationwide survey among arts therapists was undertaken in 2011; practitioners who work primarily with depression were identified and invited to complete additional questionnaire focusing on specific aspects of their practice. Therapists responded offering detailed descriptions of their work with the condition. Data analysis led to findings which greatly enrich knowledge obtained from the main survey in areas concerning the meaning of depression and techniques/tools used by therapists. New insights into the work of arts therapists with depression additionally encompass therapeutic aims as well as challenges and rewards of the practice. The themes of motivation and time as well as the paradox of isolation versus the need to relate were identified by the respondents as crucial in the therapeutic process. The findings help understand the meaning and possibilities of arts therapies in the treatment of depression and the area would benefit from further in-depth research, particularly on techniques used by therapists and on the origins of therapeutic change. It is expected that this and future research will be of a special interest to arts therapists themselves and other professionals wishing to gain insight into what arts therapies practice with depression entails.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)563-569
    Number of pages7
    JournalThe Arts in Psychotherapy
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014


    • Depression
    • Art therapy
    • Survey
    • UK
    • Clinical practice
    • Therapeutic process

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