Creative expression is helpful to healthy human development and recovery from mental distress. Formal arts therapies for people with mental health problems aim to help people draw on their inner, creative resources while exploring personal issues with a trained arts therapist in a safe, contained space, in order to achieve psychological change.
Arts therapies include Art, Dance Movement, Drama and Music. Practitioners are trained to post-graduate level and must be State Registered in order to practise.
More recently there has been growing interest in arts-in-health initiatives where the creative process itself is seen to have therapeutic value in promoting general well-being, including mental health. International and UK research has found that many people with mental health problems find arts therapies helpful, either on their own or as part of a range of therapies, which may include medication and talking treatments.
People who have used arts therapies say they provide a greater sense of choice and control than medication or talking therapies.