Creative Therapies is an umbrella term for healthcare professions that use the creative and expressive arts to improve and enhance the psychological and social well-being of individuals of all ages and all health conditions.
It is a type of therapy that uses non-verbal expression like art or music as a means to communicate our inner feelings, thoughts and fear and worries. Explaining how you feel using words alone, can be very difficult and traumatic so creative therapy can help you to communicate experiences and what you’re feeling in other ways.
It can help an individual to describe and understand their own thoughts and feelings when struggling with mental health.
Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses art media as its primary mode of expression and communication. Art therapists use different art forms as a medium to identify and address psychological, emotional and well-being issues which may be confusing and distressing for individuals. It is a form of therapy that uses art and psychology to make a positive difference in the life of many people who find verbal communication difficult or struggle to put their thoughts and feelings into words.
Art therapists need to be flexible and resourceful. Their role is to help people to achieve positive changes in their lives. They work therapeutically with people of all ages, at all life stages, and from all walks of life. Clients may have a wide range of difficulties, disabilities, or diagnoses. These include emotional, behavioural, psychological or mental health problems, learning or physical disabilities, short or long-term physical conditions and life-limiting conditions.
Art therapy can be provided in groups or individually, depending on clients' needs. Art therapists work in a variety of settings: including health and social care settings such as hospitals, clinics and schools as well as in prisons, private practice and in prisons. In NHS Wales, art therapists work in children and young people mental health services, adult services (including inpatient and community mental health care), specialist settings such as forensics, eating disorders and palliative care.
Drama therapists often have a background in theatre, health, or education and can be found in many varying settings such as schools, mental health care, general health social care, prisons and in the voluntary sector. Dramatherapy employs the use of play, games, movement, embodiment, stories, improvisation, projection and sound to facilitate psychological therapy. Dramatherapy is a form of Psychotherapy, where Drama therapists draw on their knowledge of theatre and therapy, as a medium for psychological therapy. This may include drama, story-making, music, movement, and art.
Drama therapists help clients to explore a wide variety of different issues and needs from autism and dementia to physical/sexual abuse and mental illness in an indirect way leading to psychological, emotional and social changes. Drama therapists work with their clients using a very wide range of dramatic techniques in verbal and non-verbal ways. Though vocalisation, story-making and talk are integral parts of dramatherapy, the practice does not necessarily rely on spoken language alone to resolve what a pupil, client, or patient may wish to address, explore or to seek support with.
Drama therapists work therapeutically with a diverse range of individuals, groups and organisations who experience significant difficulties, employing a number of dramatic contexts (such as stories, puppetry, and improvisation) to enable clients to explore difficult and painful life experiences through an indirect approach.
Music therapists are highly trained allied health professionals (AHPs), providing treatment that can help to transform people's lives. Music therapists use music to help their clients achieve therapeutic goals through the development of the musical and therapeutic relationship. The role of the music therapist is not to teach clients how to play an instrument, and there is no pre-requisite to 'be musical' in order to engage in music therapy. Music therapists work with the range of styles and genres including free improvisation to offer appropriate, sensitive and meaningful musical interaction with their clients.
Music therapy can support people of all ages whose lives have been affected by injury, illness or disability through supporting their psychological, emotional, cognitive, physical, communicative and social needs. This can include helping newborn babies develop healthy bonds with their parents, to offering vital, sensitive and compassionate palliative care at the end of life. Music therapists offer individual or group music therapy sessions. They can offer assessments, attending meetings, weekly telephone calls with the client's family or carers, providing joint sessions with other professionals such as speech and language therapists, writing reports, and making recommendations for further treatment. Music therapists frequently work as members of multi-disciplinary teams in: health and care settings, in schools and private practice.