Evaluating an art therapy group for depression: balancing research and clinical meanings

Ania Zubala, Vicky Karkou

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster

Abstract

This poster explores how (and whether) both research and clinical meanings may be reached through creative evaluation of an art therapy group for adults suffering from depression.

The global burden of depression is apparent while its world-wide impact is growing rapidly. In its complexity depression affects not only the individual but entire families and communities. By responding to the universal need for self-expression, arts therapies could potentially address withdrawal within depression and encourage sharing.

This poster presents findings from a pilot research study of a creative mixed methodologies design, which strived to offer scientifically robust evaluation, while retaining clinical meaning and reflecting the nature of an art therapy process.

This project gathered data from questionnaires and interviews with participants in three points in time. A decrease in depressive symptoms and improvement in subjectively perceived wellbeing were observed. Moreover, potential benefits of arts therapies were highlighted: acceptance of depression and its challenges, creativity and readiness to express emotions, sense of self and awareness of others, readiness for meaningful communication and relationships, sense of achievement, sense of balance and new insights, growth and meaning. Most importantly, the therapy process was observed and carefully examined to identify therapeutic factors particularly relevant to depression. An innovative method of data collection allowed for an in-depth exploration of the therapeutic process and identification of events/moments when psychological change occurred and progress in the group was made.

The poster presents the main findings of this evaluation, explores the nature of depression as revealed in the art therapy group and guides through its complex landscape formed by the two tensions: the tendency to withdraw/isolate, and the need to relate/connect.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 19 Sep 2015
EventECArTE - 13th European Arts Therapies Conference "Cultural Landscapes in Arts Therapies: participation, diversity and dialogue" - Cantieri Culturali alla Zisa, Palermo, Italy
Duration: 16 Sep 201519 Sep 2015
http://www.ecarte.info/conference/

Conference

ConferenceECArTE - 13th European Arts Therapies Conference "Cultural Landscapes in Arts Therapies: participation, diversity and dialogue"
CountryItaly
CityPalermo
Period16/09/1519/09/15
Internet address

Keywords

  • Arts therapies
  • Depression
  • Therapeutic process

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    Zubala, A., & Karkou, V. (2015). Evaluating an art therapy group for depression: balancing research and clinical meanings. Poster session presented at ECArTE - 13th European Arts Therapies Conference "Cultural Landscapes in Arts Therapies: participation, diversity and dialogue", Palermo, Italy. http://www.ecarte.info/poster-presentations/zubala-ania.htm