Process in the Arts Therapies

Process in the Arts Therapies

Process in the Arts Therapies

Process in the Arts Therapies


Arts therapists are becoming increasingly interested in process as it is manifested in their work. The multiplicity of levels at which process operates is the theme of this new book. What happens during a therapy session is examined, as are the client's response, which is experienced through the medium of the art form itself, and the evolution of the relationship between therapist and client. Perspectives from across the arts therapy spectrum are included, with contributions from practitioners in dramatherapy, play therapy, music therapy, and dance movement therapy. Re-evaluating the nature of practice, Process in the Arts Therapies expands and develops the theory.


Ann Cattanach

The arts therapies can be defined as action therapies in that they are not talking therapies, as such: instead, clients explore issues and experiences through the medium of an art form. It is this intentional use of the art form as healing process which makes the interventions therapeutic rather than simply participations in dance, music, drama, play or art, for their own sakes.

In this book, experienced clinicians and academics in the field of the arts therapies map some aspects of their therapeutic work. All the authors teach some aspects of their work on one of the arts therapy training courses at Roehampton Institute, London, which offer courses in dramatherapy, dance movement therapy, music therapy and play therapy. Research opportunities are offered up to PhD level. The authors describe ways of using each of these art forms as therapy, so that readers can explore what actually happens when a group, trainee or individual meets the therapist.

Steve Mitchell and Brenda Meldrum both explore a theatre model of dramatherapy but use different aspects of the theatre experience. Steve Mitchell uses the ritual-drama form as a basis for his theatre of self-expression and he describes how two aspects of this form – the Ritual of Transformation and the Rite of Initiation can be processed in a Dramatherapy group. The process encompasses the client finding safety in the group, acquiring theatre skills to enable satisfactory enactments to take place in the group and, finally, attention given to returning to everyday life. It is hoped that a new point of view explored and presented in the therapy could be manifested and maintained back in the everyday world.

Brenda Meldrum sees theatre as a metaphor for the therapeutic process. In the acts of auditioning, rehearsing, performing and ending, creativity is developed. Meldrum considers that both theatre and therapy processes are . . .

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