Online art therapy practice and client safety: a UK-wide survey in times of COVID-19

Ania Zubala, Simon Hackett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)
110 Downloads (Pure)


Background: The COVID-19 pandemic enforced a sudden change in practice and a move into online delivery for many art therapists in the UK, often with minimal guidance and little previous experience of remote delivery.

Aims: To explore ways in which practitioners adapted practice to ensure continuity of service and client safety at distance.

Methods: An online survey designed to explore practitioners’ perspectives and experiences of using digital technology in art therapy sessions with clients.

Results: Vast majority of 96 respondents reported having worked with clients online as a result of the pandemic. The respondents expressed concerns about safety of practice and their own confidence in delivering therapy remotely. Increased clinical supervision, specialist training and support from colleagues were valued in the rapid transitioning to online practice.

Conclusions: A snap shot of art therapists’ responses to a need to adapt their practice due to the pandemic is presented, including approaches to working with technology and strategies that therapists employed to ensure their clients’ and own safety.

Implications for practice/policy/future research: Being able to offer a safe environment for clients is a priority for practitioners. Further research, guidance and training might offer the support needed for developing a suitably safe online practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-171
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Art Therapy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2020


  • art therapy
  • online therapy
  • digital technology
  • telehealth
  • Covid-19
  • change in practice
  • survey


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