The Importance of Psychological Flow in a Creative, Embodied and Enactive Psychological Therapy Approach (Arts for the Blues)

Ailsa Parsons*, Linda Dubrow-Marshall, Scott Thurston, Jenny Starkey, Joanna Omylinska-Thurston, Vicky Karkou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

Abstract

Psychological flow (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990; 1997) can be experienced in various occupational, recreational and creative domains and may confer increased wellbeing. Yet, very few studies have examined flow as a potential feature of creative arts therapies – particularly therapies which prioritise embodied/enactive processes. This study tested the acute effects of a 90-minute workshop (Arts for the Blues; A4B) on participants’ (N = 18) mood and personal goal attainment. Psychological flow was measured, and participants rated the importance of flow in relation to A4B’s psychotherapeutic aims. Results show significantly improved mood, increased goal attainment and substantial flow scores, suggesting that A4B processes may invoke flow. Participants’ importance ratings of different flow dimensions indicate that some were considered as more important than others. Results are discussed in relation to methodological limitations, helpful creative therapeutic factors that may enable flow, and implications for researchers and practitioners who wish to encourage flow in their practice.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBody, Movement and Dance in Psychotherapy
Early online date12 Oct 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Oct 2022

Keywords

  • psychological flow
  • mood
  • creative arts therapies
  • dance movement psychotherapy
  • Arts for the Blues

Research Institutes

  • Health Research Institute

Research Centres

  • Research Centre for Arts & Wellbeing

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