My view: how arts therapy works

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Craig Barrett – Dramatherapist with the Youth Arts & Health Trust explains how arts therapy can work:

When I was as school Drama was the subject I enjoyed the most. The drama teachers seemed different to the teachers of other subjects and encouraged you to be creative and help to find new ways of expression. So whether it was designing a set, making a costume, finding the right piece of music or thinking about what lights you wanted to use there was always something to keep you creatively occupied and I loved it all.

My passion for creativity is what led me to train as an arts therapist.

What I like about the arts therapies is that there really is something for everyone. Whatever works for you is what we go with. It might just involve talking as in the more formal psychotherapies but it may involve working with or creating a story, doing some art work (no skills necessary!) or some simple drama and movement. The list of possibilities is only limited by our imagination and it’s the job of the therapist to help find with the client how we want to work and if it’s not working we can try something different.

Central to any methods of working is the therapeutic relationship between therapist and client which is subject to strict guidance and regulation in this case by the Health and Care Professions Council. You should always make sure that your therapist is a registered and regulated Health Care Professional. It takes time and chemistry to find the right therapist so don’t be afraid to follow your instincts if you feel someone is not right for you! The right one will be out there and its worth persevering until you find them.

I admire the vision of the Youth Arts & Health Trust in not only identifying the huge need in provision for young people and young adults but critically in identifying that the arts are inherently therapeutic and fun and good for the soul. I’ve worked with founder Laura Newton for more than a decade now on numerous projects and I’m really excited about continuing this partnership via the Youth Arts & Health Trust.

I look forward to meeting you.


About Craig:

Craig Barrett is a Dramatherapist with the Youth Arts & Health Trust, offering individual and group arts therapy.  Previous therapy roles have included Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services and the Specialist Prevention team of the local authority.  He has experience of supporting foster carers and social workers in their work with Children in Care. Craig has worked on a number of Forum Theatre and community arts projects with Wolf & Water Arts Company and Exeter Forum Theatre.  In addition Craig works with the Koru Project, a Dorset Arts Therapy Initiative and has been part of the core staff team on the MA in Dramatherapy for the Exeter based South West School of Dramatherapy.