Description of arts therapies practice with adults suffering from depression in the UK: Quantitative results from the nationwide survey

Ania Zubala*, Donald J. MacIntyre, Nigel Gleeson, Vicky Karkou, Donald MacIntyre

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is growing evidence that arts therapies may be under-used treatments for the 'global burden' of depression. However, the experiences of arts therapists, their methods, tools and ways of working with this client group remain unclear. Arts therapies in the UK are a form of psychotherapy. They use arts media alongside therapeutic relationship as means of therapeutic change and include four disciplines: Art Therapy (AT), Music Therapy (MT), Dance Movement Psychotherapy (DMP) and Drama Therapy (DT). In 2011, all arts therapists registered in the UK were invited to complete an online questionnaire concerning their practice in general and specifically in relation to clients with depression. The Arts Therapies Survey received 395 responses. Arts therapists who work primarily with depression were identified and compared to those who do not work with depression on a range of factors, including preferred theoretical approaches and style of working. Arts therapists who specialise in depression tend to follow Psychodynamic principles more often, are more likely to be older and experienced, work with groups, in health settings and with adults more often than children or adolescents. These quantitative findings enable the description of most common practice of arts therapies with depression in the UK and are intended to serve as a reference for arts therapists themselves and other professionals interested in the treatment of depression. Qualitative data gathered in the survey will be presented in a separate paper, with the aim of deepening the understanding already gained. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)458-464
Number of pages7
JournalArts in Psychotherapy
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013


  • Depression
  • Arts therapies
  • Survey
  • Adults
  • UK
  • Clinical practice
  • CARE
  • WEB


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