How are they regulated?
It's good practice for any therapist to be a member of a relevant professional body, as this means they have signed up to meet certain professional standards. For some types of therapists this is required.
Art, drama and music therapists
Anyone who refers to themselves an art therapist, dramatherapist or music therapist must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). You can check if a therapist is registered using the HCPC's Check the Register service.
They must also belong to the relevant professional body:
Dance movement therapists
Dance movement therapists aren't regulated by HCPC, so aren't on their register. But it's good practice for them to belong to a relevant professional body such as the Association for Dance Movement Psychotherapy UK.
Can they treat mental health problems?
Research suggests that arts and creative therapies may help with mental health problems, but it's difficult to be sure because many studies have included fairly small numbers of people.
More research is needed to establish which problems or conditions arts and creative therapies can treat, or if particular aspects of each type of therapy are especially important in helping with mental health problems.
Some people say they find these sorts of therapies helpful because they provide ways of addressing painful feelings and difficult experiences without having to talk about them – which can sometimes include experiences of trauma.
The therapists were able to tell a lot from what you had created... and it helped open up topics for conversation or get a whirlwind of thoughts and emotions out of your head.
What if they don't work for me?
As with all treatments, different things work for different people at different times and it's not easy to predict which type of therapy you might find useful or effective.
Although some people find arts and creative therapies helpful, not everyone does. If you've tried something and it hasn't helped, try not to blame yourself. There are other options you can try.
See our pages on seeking help for a mental health problem for other options you could explore.
It helps me when I struggle to find the words, when I'm too angry, despairing or confused to know what I think. It gives me a voice.
This information was published in November 2018. We will revise it in 2021.