Reasons for Art and relevance to Therapy

I am well aware of the improvements that creativity can bring to people’s well being, and how using the right side of the brain can allow us to access our subconscious and our inner needs.  It seems that this is accepted by people who work in some areas of the health system, but what I don’t understand is why Art Therapists find it hard to gain employment, and why The Arts Council in Ireland and Arts and Health Ireland will not give funding for art therapy in HSE Arts and Health settings.

The following quotes are taken from a UK inquiry into the value of art in relation to health and wellbeing.


“At least one – third of GP appointments are, in part, due
to isolation. Through social prescribing and community resilience programmes, creative arts can have a significant impact on reducing isolation and enabling wellbeing in communities.”
Dr Jane Povey GP, Director, Creative Inspiration Shropshire Community Interest Company

“At Paul Hamlyn Foundation, we have always believed that the arts are a force for change, enriching people’s lives and transforming communities, so we were pleased to support this important work, to shine a light on the links between arts and wellbeing and to uncover the excellent practice and evidence to underpin our assertions. The findings emphasise the positive impact that arts access and participation have on helping people to overcome disadvantage and enjoy healthier lives, and the case studies clearly demonstrate the power that partnerships between health agencies and arts practitioners can have.”                  Moira Sinclair, Chief Executive, Paul Hamlyn Foundation

“There is growing evidence that engagement in activities like dance, music, drama, painting and reading help ease our minds and heal our bodies. This timely report sets out

a clear policy framework for the cultural sector to continue its impressive work in improving people’s health and wellbeing.” Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair, Arts Council England

“This report lays out a compelling case for our healthcare systems to better utilise the creative arts in supporting health and wellbeing outcomes, building on a growing body of evidence in mental health, end-of-life care and in supporting those living with long-term conditions.”               Lord Darzi, Professor of Surgery, Imperial College London


“The therapeutic value of art is an asset we must use. A partnership between arts organisations and health organisations has the power to improve access to the arts and to health services for people neglected by both. Through our Creative Minds programmes in Yorkshire, I also know these partnerships can both save lives and make lives.” Robert Webster, Chief Executive South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust; Lead Chief Executive, West Yorkshire and Harrogate Sustainability and Transformation Partnership

“Artistic self expression gives participants an identity beyond illness. I have seen the arts build confidence and community and provide hope in the midst of suffering.”                      Eva Okwonga, Peer Support Advisory Board Member for Mind and Music Workshop Leader at Music In Mind


“The Sackler Foundations support creative people who are known to be passionate about connecting the arts to ordinary people’s lives and who are expert at what they do. We have always supported both arts- and health-related activity and continue to commit to quality programmes, often where other partners – public, private and philanthropic – will join us. We would welcome strategic and sustained collaboration to support the arts to promote health and wellbeing.”   Dame Theresa Sackler

“This is an impressive collection of evidence and practice for culture and health, which reflects the passion and breadth of engagement of the APPG and its partners over the last two years.”  Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive, Public Health England


“Art helps us access and express parts of ourselves that are often unavailable to other forms of human interaction. It flies below the radar, delivering nourishment for our soul and returning with stories from the unconscious. A world without art is an inhuman world. Making and consuming art lifts our spirits and keeps us sane. Art, like science and religion, helps us make meaning from our lives, and to make meaning is to make us feel better.” Grayson Perry, Artist

“The mind is the gateway through which the social determinants impact upon health, and this report is about the life of the mind. It provides a substantial body of evidence showing how the arts, enriching the mind through creative and cultural activity, can mitigate the negative effects of social disadvantage. Creative Health should be studied by all those commissioning services.” Professor Sir Michael Marmot, Director, Institute of Health Equity, University College London

By Art Therapy in Ballydehob, West Cork. Marika O'Sullivan

I am an art therapist based in Ballydehob West Cork. My background is in art and design, but I have also worked therapeutically with people for over 20 years. I also have many years experience of creative group facilitation and working in schools with art and design projects. I am currently Art Therapist in ARC,cancer support in West Cork and on the Cosceim panel working with young people in Direct Provision. Other experience includes working with adults of all ages, children and more specifically with adolescents and families who are having difficulties while at this transitional stage. Art Therapy allows creative solutions to difficult situation, the process builds resilience and improved coping skills, bringing joy and the potential to thrive creativity back into one's life.

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