Arts therapies

Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses art media as its primary mode of expression and communication. Within this context, art is not used as diagnostic tool but as a medium to address emotional issues which may be confusing and distressing (British Association of Art Psychotherapists, 2015).

Dramatherapy will use all of the performance arts within the therapeutic relationship, such as stories, myths, play texts, puppetry, masks and improvisation (British Association of Dramatherapists, 2015).

Dance Movement Psychotherapy (DMP) is a relational process in which client/s and therapist engage creatively using body movement and dance to assist integration of emotional, cognitive, physical, social and spiritual aspects of self (Association for Dance Movement Psychotherapy, 2015).

Music therapy uses music to help their clients achieve therapeutic goals through the development of the musical and therapeutic relationship. Music therapists work with the natural musicality styles and genres including free improvisation to offer appropriate, sensitive and meaningful musical interaction with their clients (British Association for Music Therapy, 2015).

Arts Therapists work within institutions as members of multidisciplinary teams and collaborate with other professionals including medical and health care staff, teachers or prison and probation staff. The discipline is available across various services within South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust:

  • Adult CABs
  • Hospital wards
  • Community settings
  • Education (primary, secondary, further and special education)

The disciplines can be accessed by children, young people, adults and the elderly across a variety of disabilities and diagnoses, including emotional, behavioural or mental health problems, learning or physical disabilities, life-limiting conditions, neurological conditions and physical illnesses. Arts Therapies can be accessed as part of a group or individually and interventions can be short-term or long-term, depending on reasons for referral

People who are referred to an Arts Therapist do not need to have previous experience of art, drama, dance or music. Art and expressions are used as a medium for confronting difficult emotions and to support awareness and self-development.

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