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Factors that Influence Engagement in an Inpatient Art Therapy Group for Veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

02 June 2019

This article by Janice Lobban seeks to explore what factors influence veteran engagement in the art therapy groups...


  Photo Credit: Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed


Within the current climate of budget cuts and funding reforms, evaluation and evidence-based practice is high on the agenda for art therapists as we seek to demonstrate the strengths of art therapy, what it does well and what it does differently. When clients drop out of groups, there is a valuable opportunity to explore barriers to therapeutic engagement, and to learn more about what art therapy provides by identifying what is being avoided.

The findings of two art therapy pilot surveys are presented here to further understanding in these areas. The first aimed to understand why some veterans did not attend all the art therapy groups during a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) programme, to inform service development. The second was to test feedback about the benefits of art therapy.

The surveys were conducted at Combat Stress, a mental health service provider for veterans. They proved to be useful for gathering data, testing ideas and generating evidence of participants’ experience of art therapy to share with service commissioners and to inform further research. Findings suggest that many participants were able to overcome avoidance and discovered unexpected benefits. Art therapy stimulated new ways of thinking, which helped to promote therapeutic engagement.

This article by Janice Lobban has been published online here

This article has been made FREE ACCESS until 31st July 2019 

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IJAT:Inscape is published by BAAT and Taylor & Francis