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allied health insights

Allied Health Insights Vol. 1, No.17: Creative Arts Therapies

This week, we look at how Allied Health Professionals use creative arts therapies in daily practice.

Creative arts therapy—or expressive therapy or simply creative therapy—is multidisciplinary, housing a number of nascent professions including art therapy, dance / movement therapy, music therapy, and dramatherapy.

While creative therapy’s scope of practice is known to help people to find their voice and cope with ongoing anxiety issues, its therapeutic applications can be quite broad, spanning the use of expressive arts as an outlet for people living with chronic pain, using drama therapy in prisons to address mental health inequities, incorporating creative arts into rehabilitation outside of a hospital setting, using dramatherapy and puppet theatre to help people with dementia to socialise, and movement therapy to address emotional imbalance.

Having previously featured art therapy and music therapy, this week’s edition with highlight the dramatherapy profession, barely 50 years young and still evolving.

Some dramatherapists incorporate niche modalities. Dannielle Jackson is a Tasmania-based dramatherapist who uses puppetry in her work to assist people living with dementia. We spoke to Danielle recently about this specific focus as a dramatherapist.

We also take a look at the dramatherapy profession in detail, from workforce considerations, to professional education requirements and more.

Useful Links

The AHP Playlist

jocat podcast

Phenomenology and Dance Therapy | JoCAT Podcast

For the first in a planned series of episodes from the Journal of Creative Arts Therapy, Amanda Levey speaks to dance and Gestalt therapist Ursula Schorn about her training with Anna Halprin in the 1980s and how she has expanded on Anna’s work in the movement and body-based creative arts therapies.

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embrace therapy podcast

Embrace Therapy Podcast

Conversations with dramatherapists, music therapists, art therapists and other mental health care professionals, sharing stories, insights and research on how embracing therapy is positive for one’s mental health. The Embrace Therapy Podcast is hosted by Vicky Linnane MA MIACAT, a practicing art therapist based in Ireland.

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ahps off the record

Dramatherapy – An Emerging AHP Profession | AHPs Off The Record

Dramatherapist Heather Turkington is passionate about the benefits of dramatherapy and is actively trying to create courses for those interested, as well as promote its use in mainstream healthcare.

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AHP Recommended Articles

Healing Through Creative Arts

“The Mule Shed Activity Hub is a rehabilitation space for patients who have sustained debilitating injuries from either a stroke, brain, spinal injury or another type of physical accident. It is a safe space for patients to continue their rehabilitation outside of their hospital room, where they can participate in activities that appeal to them within a hands-on workshop and an area for board games, painting and drawing.”—News, Centre For Creative Health

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Lebanon: Drama therapist helps inmates with mental illnesses while pushing for reform

“Zeina Daccache conducts drama therapy in Lebanon’s jails to help inmates and fight for reform of the unjust penal code. Daccache has been developing the concept of drama therapy in Lebanese prisons since 2007, when she began holding sessions with inmates. She also choreographed an entire play within the prison.”—Meera Santhanam, Middle East Eye

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New Translation Fellowships a boost for mental health and kids with autism

“A project designed to increase awareness of the relationship between the arts and mental health and a digital tool to address anxiety concerns for children on the autism spectrum have been given a boost thanks to support from the Western Australian Future Health Research and Innovation Fund (FHRIF), which is an initiative of the Western Australian State Government.”—Impact, The University of Western Australia

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Creative arts therapies can help people with dementia socialise and express their grief

“People with dementia can flourish and show creativity in ways they, their caregivers and loved ones never thought possible. Under the guidance of a trained therapist, creative arts therapies use painting, drama, dance and music to help improve quality of life for people with dementia. Around 50 million people worldwide have dementia and it’s on the rise.”—Joanna Jaaniste, The Conversation

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AHP Research – Creative Therapies

How do arts practices support people with chronic physical pain? Exploring lived experiences of chronic pain with people using expressive arts

“Recent research suggests the need for professionals in expressive arts to provide meaningful creative techniques for people with chronic pain. This study explores how people have used expressive arts to support themselves in living with chronic physical pain. Participants who volunteered all had a previous interest in art, two with lifelong arts practices, and two were encouraged by a health professional to try arts expression. The interviews explored how expressive arts have supported them in their experience of chronic pain.”—Cross, Kelsey L. (2022). Journal of Creative Arts Therapies. Vol. 17, No.1

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