Arts Therapies in the Treatment of Depression


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Arts Therapies in the Treatment of Depression is a comprehensive compilation of expert knowledge on arts therapies’ potential in successfully addressing depression. The book identifies ways of addressing the condition in therapy sessions, shares experience of tools and approaches which seem to work best and guides towards a conscious and confident evidence-based practice.

Including contributions from international experts in the field of arts therapies, the book presents some of the most recent, high-profile and methodologically diverse research, whether in the form of clinical trials, surveys or case studies. The three sections of this volume correspond to particular life stages and explore major topics in arts therapies practice and the nature of depression in children, adults and in later life. Individual chapters within the three sections represent all four arts therapies disciplines. The book hopes to improve existing arts therapies practice and research, by encouraging researchers to use creativity in designing meaningful research projects and empowering practitioners to use evidence creatively for the benefit of their clients and the discipline.

Arts Therapies in the Treatment of Depression is an essential resource for arts therapies researchers, practitioners and arts therapists in training. It should also be of interest to other health researchers and health professionals, particularly those who work with clients experiencing depression and in multidisciplinary teams.


Arts therapies’ response to the global crisis of depression: Current research and future developments – Ania Zubala & Vicky Karkou

Part I. Arts therapies with children and adolescents experiencing depression

  • Music therapy and depression in primary-aged children: Reflections on case work and assessment in a residential child and family psychiatric unit – Amelia Oldfield
  • Art therapy to address emotional well-being of children who have experienced stress and/or trauma – Unnur Óttarsdóttir
  • Reducing depressive symptoms in adolescents with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder using drama therapy – Elizabeth McAdam & David Read Johnson
  • Movement-based arts therapy for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – Badr Alrazain, Ania Zubala & Vicky Karkou

Part II. Arts therapies with adults experiencing depression

  • Collaborative discourse analysis on the use of drama therapy to treat depression in adults – Nisha Sajnani, Aileen Cho, Heidi Landis, Gary Raucher & Nadya Trytan
  • An essence of the therapeutic process in an art therapy group for adults experiencing depression: Therapy process mapping – Ania Zubala
  • Embodied treatment of depression: The development of a dance movement therapy model – Päivi Pylvänäinen
  • Reversing a sub-cultural norm: Art therapy in treating depression in prison inmates – David E. Gussak & Ashley Beck
  • Music therapy clinical practice and research for people with depression: Music, brain processing and music therapy – Helen Odell-Miller, Jörg Fachner & Jaakko Erkkilä
  • Photo-therapy in the treatment of patients with depression in a clinical setting: Development and evaluation through a Randomised Controlled Trial – Kathrin Seifert

Part III. Arts therapies with those experiencing depression in later life

  • Art therapy with the older person: One life, many losses – Jane Burns
  • Dramatherapy in working with people with dementia: The need for playfulness in creative ageing as an antidote for depression and isolation – Sue Jennings
  • Dance movement therapy research and evidence-based practice for older people with depression
  • Iris Bräuninger – Perspectives on research and clinical practice in music therapy for older people with depression – Jasmin Eickholt, Monika Geretsegger & Christian Gold
  • Assessment and therapeutic application of the Expressive Therapies Continuum in music therapy: The case of Anna with cancer-related depression – Jana Duhovska, Vija Bergs Lusebrink & Kristīne Mārtinsone

Author Bio:

Ania Zubala, PhD, is a health researcher who explores the role of arts and arts therapies for holistically-understood wellbeing, particularly in the context of remote communities and aging populations. She is a research fellow in health psychology and digital health at the University of the Highlands and Islands, Scotland.

Vicky Karkou, PhD, is a professor at Edge Hill University leading the research theme of arts and wellbeing. She is an educator, researcher and dance movement psychotherapist, widely published in peer-reviewed journals and books, and a co-editor of the international journal Body, Movement and Dance in Psychotherapy.


“As exploration of how arts activities can help alleviate the symptoms of depression this book is a tour de force of multidisciplinary practice and I wholeheartedly recommend it for anybody interested in Arts Therapies. It brings together leading international experts to present new and innovative perspectives on treating depression via engagement in creative activities. The book clearly and concisely presents state of the art clinical practices within arts therapy in an accessible, informative and thoroughly engaging style.” – Prof Raymond MacDonald, Chair of Music Psychology and Improvisation, University of Edinburgh.