The Creative Arts Therapies are psychotherapeutic practices in which the creative arts and the therapeutic relationship (between client and therapist) are central to a process of awareness, development, transformation and healing. The creative arts therapies include the modalities of art therapy/art psychotherapy, dramatherapy, dance and movement therapy, and music therapy. Since most of the locally practising arts therapists have trained in the UK, and also since the UK remains one of the pioneering countries to legally recognise the title of arts therapist, throughout this document, the UK remains our primary reference point.
Art therapy: The british association of art therapists defines art therapy as a form of psychotherapy that uses art media as its primary mode of communication. Clients who are referred to an art therapist need not have previous skill or experience in art, the art therapist is not primarily concerned with making an aesthetic or diagnostic assessment of the client’s image. The overall aim of its practitioners is to enable a client to effect change and growth on a personal level through the use of art materials in a safe and facilitating environment. (the british association of art therapists – baat.org)
Dance movement therapy: The association for dance movement therapy UK defines dance therapy as the psychotherapeutic use of dance and movement as through which a person can engage creatively in a process to further their emotional, cognitive, physical and social integration. It is founded on the principal that movement reflects an individual’s patterns of thinking and feeling. Through acknowledging and supporting client’s movements the therapist encourages development and integration of new adaptive movement patterns together with the emotional experiences that accompany such changes.(Association for Dance Movement Psychotherapy UK – admp.org.uk)
Dramatherapy: The Health and Care Professions Council (UK) defines dramatherapy as a “unique form of psychotherapy in which creativity, play, movement, voice, storytelling, dramatization and the performance arts have a central position within the therapeutic relationship.” (HCPC (UK) Standards of Proficiency – Arts therapists, 2013)
The british association of dramatherapists explains that dramatherapists are both artists and clinicians and draw on their trainings in theatre/drama and therapy to create methods to engage clients in effecting psychological, emotional and social changes. The therapy gives equal validity to body and mind within the dramatic context; stories, myths, play texts, puppetry, masks and improvisation are examples of the range of artistic interventions a dramatherapist might employ. These will enable the client to explore difficult and painful life experiences through an indirect approach (The british association of dramatherapists – badth.org.uk).
Music therapy: The British society for Music Therapy explains that there are different approaches to the use of music in therapy. Fundamental to all approaches, however, is the development of a relationship between the client and the therapist. Much of the music is improvised and as a general rule both client and therapist take an active part in the sessions by playing, singing and listening. The therapist does not teach the client to sing or play an instrument. Rather, clients are encouraged to use accessible percussion and ethnic instruments and their own voices to explore the world of sound and to create a musical language of their own. By responding musically, the therapist is able to support and encourage this process. The therapist aims to facilitate positive changes in behaviour and emotional well-being (The British society for Music Therapy – https://www.bamt.org).