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

Ania Zubala, Donald McIntyre, Vicky Karkou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)
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The 'global burden' of depression demands more effective treatments. Evidence suggests that arts therapies are offered to individuals who suffer from depression. However, despite recent increases in research, the methods and tools used by arts therapists remain unclear. A nationwide survey of arts therapists was conducted in 2011; practitioners who work primarily with depression were identified and invited to complete an additional questionnaire that focused on specific aspects of their practices. Therapists responded by offering detailed descriptions of their work with the condition. Data analysis led to findings that greatly enrich the knowledge obtained from the main survey regarding the meaning of depression and techniques/tools used by the therapists. New insights into the work of arts therapists with individuals who suffer from depression encompass the therapeutic aims, as well as the 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 facilitate an understanding of the meaning and possibilities of arts therapies in the treatment of depression. This area would benefit from further in-depth research, particularly regarding the techniques used by therapists and the origins of therapeutic change. It is expected that this and future research will be of a special interest to arts therapists and other professionals who wish 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
Early online date13 Oct 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2014



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

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