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A Dyadic Art Psychotherapy Group for Parents and Infants – Piloting Quantitative Methodologies for Evaluation

31 March 2019

This article by Victoria Gray Armstrong, Egle Dalinkeviciute & Josephine Ross describes a pilot of art psychotherapy groups using a dyadic approach as an intervention for parents and infants in order to improve their relationships...

 Photography by Lex Bágust, Art Psychotherapist

 

We are researching whether making art together in an art therapy group might help improve the bonding between parents and their young children. The experiences we have with our caregivers in the first years of life are crucial for our well-being for the rest of our lives. It makes a difference to have a caregiver who is emotionally available and who is responsive.

We think that when infants and their parents make art together it encourages lots of positive behaviours between them that can help to improve the way they relate to each other – their attachment. Art encourages lots of joint looking and shared sensory experiences which can help them to communicate better and, importantly, to have fun together and enjoy each other’s company. Our research looked at an Art Therapy approach where a group of parents and infants did art and messy play together for 12 weeks with the support of a qualified art psychotherapist.

We showed that there were improvements in the well-being of parents and in the way they viewed their relationships following the art therapy group and the change in well-being was statistically significant. We also measured the length of time each parent–infant pair spent engaged in behaviour that would be seen as positive for attachments and saw that this increased from the first to last session. This is really promising pilot evidence that Art Therapy might be a useful tool to help with struggling parents and their very young children.

 

This article by Victoria Gray Armstrong, Egle Dalinkeviciute & Josephine Ross has been published online here

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