Arts therapies’ role in the treatment of depression: Showcasing best research practice in the context of tradition and cultures

Ania Zubala, Vicky Karkou

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


In this presentation we will showcase a mosaic of evidence-based arts therapies interventions addressing depression. We will use examples from our own research and evidence gathered in collaboration with experts from Europe and beyond to illustrate the diversity of approaches to practice and research, often deeply rooted in their respective cultural contexts. Can these, culturally-rooted, practices offer transferable and applicable knowledge to practitioners in other parts of the world? Can these traditions help us understand and improve the modern arts therapies practice? Will we be able to use culturally rich skills, knowledge and intuition to transition into a broader recognition of arts therapies’ role in responding to the global burden of depression?

We have found that dealing with symptoms of depression remains a common area of work for over 90% of arts therapists practising in the UK. Despite high-quality research emerging from research teams worldwide, no publication to date has attempted to gather the growing evidence. This work deserves to be more visible, accessible and inspirational for arts therapists, trainees, other health practitioners, researchers and those shaping health provision. We thus embarked on a journey leading to a comprehensive compilation of expert knowledge on arts therapies’ potential in addressing depression (Zubala and Karkou, forthcoming, 2018). To reflect the essentially creative character of the field we invited discussions and creative critique of both current practice and research methodologies

Within times of flux, uncertainty, and depleted health provision, knowledge and strength derived from research may be part of an important surviving toolkit. Sharing experience of tools, approaches and methods of evaluation should inevitably lead to a more conscious and confident evidence-based practice. We would like to invite the audience to consider the role of research in enhancing practice and strengthening the position of arts therapies in the global effort to enhance wellbeing.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 16 Sept 2017
Event14th European Arts Therapies Conference (ECArTE) - Krakow, Poland
Duration: 13 Sept 201716 Sept 2017


Conference14th European Arts Therapies Conference (ECArTE)


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