Art Therapy Research – A Survey

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Art Therapy Research – A Survey 2017-07-21T12:37:06+00:00

ART AS THERAPY: AN EFFECTIVE WAY OF PROMOTING POSITIVE MENTAL HEALTH?

Volume 21, Issue 2, 2006, Pages 179 – 191,  DISABILITY & SOCIETY

Author: Deirdre Heenana

Abstract

The aim of this study is to evaluate the contribution that creative arts can play in promoting positive mental health and well-being. The research is based on a case study of an innovative art therapy programme delivered by a community-based mental health organisation in Northern Ireland, as part of a supported recovery programme. The study reported here explored the experiences and perceptions of the service users through in-depth interviews and focus groups. The art as therapy course was credited with improvements in self-esteem and self-confidence. It provided a safe space for reflection on mental health issues. Participants described the programme as cathartic and a springboard for engagement in a wide range of further projects. It is concluded that this type of project which addresses mental health issues in a supportive, positive, non-clinical environment can encourage and facilitate empowerment and recovery through accessible creative programmes. However, to date these programmes are time-limited, small-scale and marginal to the approach adopted by statutory service providers.