The arts therapies in the UK have developed rapidly over the second half of the 20th century and into the 21st. Developments include regulation and registration as a state registered profession through the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and the recent establishment, led by Professor Di Waller, of the International Centre for Research in the Arts Therapies (ICRA) at Imperial College, London UK. The professional title of an Arts Therapist is now a protected title in the UK and may only legally be used by a registrant with the HCPC. At present only art therapy, music therapy and dramatherapy, the three largest of the professional groups, have gained membership to HCPC, a process by which their practice, training procedures and professional organisation have been recognised by an Act of Parliament. Dance/movement therapy is yet to be recognised by the HCPC. This is the latest development in a lengthy history of diverse practice within the arts therapies, and practitioners continue to address such questions as whether the therapeutic nature of their work should be identified and described within the language and concepts of verbal psychotherapy and/or psychoanalysis.


All the arts therapies training programmes are organised at postgraduate level (Masters) and arts therapists work in a variety of settings: psychiatry, social service, education, prisons and the voluntary sector. In all cases their training enables them to contribute their particular knowledge and expertise to the multi-disciplinary teams involved in client care. Below is the list of courses recognised by Health and Care Professions Council. Those starred are Members of ECArTE. 1. Anglia Ruskin University * MA Music Therapy Music Therapy - MA - ARU MA Dramatherapy Dramatherapy - MA - ARU 2. Goldsmiths College University of London
MA Art Psychotherapy https://www.gold.ac.uk/pg/ma-art-psychotherapy/ Art Psychotherapy Foundation Course https://www.gold.ac.uk/short-courses/art-psychotherapy-foundation/ MA Dance Movement Psychotherapy https://www.gold.ac.uk/pg/ma-dance-movement-psychotherapy/ Dance Movement Psychotherapy Foundation Course https://www.gold.ac.uk/short-courses/dance-movement-psychotherapy-foundation/ 3. Guildhall School of Music and Drama MA Music Therapy https://www.gsmd.ac.uk/music/principal_study/music_therapy/ 4. Institute of Arts in Therapy and Education, London MA Integrative Arts Psychotherapy https://www.artspsychotherapy.org/therapy-courses/art-therapy-/-arts-psychotherapy/ 5. Leeds Metropolitan University MA Art Psychotherapy Practice 6. Nordoff Robbins MA Music Therapy https://www.nordoff-robbins.org.uk/training/our-master-of-music-therapy-programme/ 7. University of Roehampton * MA Art Psychotherapy https://www.roehampton.ac.uk/postgraduate-courses/art-psychotherapy/ MA Dance Movement Psychotherapy https://www.roehampton.ac.uk/postgraduate-courses/dance-movement-psychotherapy/ MA Dramatherapy https://www.roehampton.ac.uk/postgraduate-courses/dramatherapy/ MA Music Therapy https://www.roehampton.ac.uk/postgraduate-courses/music-therapy/ Play Therapy https://www.roehampton.ac.uk/postgraduate-courses/play-therapy/ 8. Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London
MA Drama and Movement Therapy https://www.cssd.ac.uk/ma-drama-movement-therapy 9. University of Chester MA Art Therapy https://www1.chester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/art-therapy 10. University of Derby *
MA Art Therapy https://www.derby.ac.uk/postgraduate/therapeutic-practice-courses/art-therapy-ma/ MA Dramatherapy https://www.derby.ac.uk/postgraduate/therapeutic-practice-courses/dramatherapy-ma/ MA Music Therapy https://www.derby.ac.uk/postgraduate/therapeutic-practice-courses/music-therapy-ma/ 11. University of Hertfordshire * MA Art Therapy https://www.herts.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate-masters/ma-art-therapy 12. University of the West of England, Bristol * MA Music Therapy https://courses.uwe.ac.uk/b99942/music-therapy Supervision training for music therapists https://courses.uwe.ac.uk/uspkjd30m/supervision-training-for-music-therapists Therapeutic songwriting https://courses.uwe.ac.uk/uspkjc15m/therapeutic-songwriting 13. Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh * MSc Art Psychotherapy (International) https://www.qmu.ac.uk/study-here/postgraduate-study/2020-postgraduate-courses/msc-art-psychotherapy MSc in Music Therapy https://www.qmu.ac.uk/study-here/postgraduate-study/2021/msc-music-therapy MSc in Play Therapy https://www.qmu.ac.uk/study-here/postgraduate-study/2021/msc-play-therapy Introduction to Dramatherapy Short Course https://www.qmu.ac.uk/study-here/continuing-professional-development-cpd-courses/cpd-courses-folder/introduction-to-dramatherapy-short-course


There are four professional associations. All publish their own registers, codes of professional practice, journals and research findings: British Association of Art Therapists: https://www.baat.org British Association of Dramatherapists: http://www.badth.org.uk British association of Music Therapists: http://www.bamt.org Association of Dance/ Movement Therapists: https://admp.org.uk Art Therapy Nationally recognised courses in art therapy have been established in the UK since the early 1970s. The clinical training is at post-graduate level (Masters). Qualified practitioners and students register with the British Association of Art Therapists (BAAT). The professional body is recognised by state authorities and is able to negotiate on behalf of its members with the various employing bodies. Art therapy is formally recognised for employment purposes by the National Health Service, Education and Social Services. Practitioners are registered and regulated through the Health and Care Professions Council. Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses art media as its primary mode of communication. Art therapy differs from other psychological therapies in that it is a three-way process between the client, the therapist and the image or artefact. Thus, it offers the opportunity for expression and communication, and can be particularly helpful to people who find it hard to express their thoughts and feelings verbally. Art therapists have a considerable understanding of art processes underpinned by a sound knowledge of therapeutic practice and work with both individuals and groups in a variety of residential and community-based settings, for example: adult mental health, learning disabilities, child and family centres, palliative care and the prison service. The diversity of these areas of work is reflected in the number of special interest groups that have developed in affiliation with the British Association of Art Therapists. Art therapy is a diverse profession, and it is important to ensure that those who practise it are maintaining the standards appropriate to the profession. Art therapists, along with dramatherapists and music therapists need to register with the Health and Care Professions Council. Dramatherapy Nationally recognised courses in dramatherapy have been established in the UK since the 1980s. Qualified practitioners register with the British Association of Dramatherapists (BADth). Dramatherapy has as its main focus the intentional use of healing aspects of drama and theatre as the therapeutic process. It is a method of working and playing that uses action methods to facilitate creativity, imagination, learning, insight and growth. Dramatherapy is a form of psychological therapy in which all of the performance arts are utilised within the therapeutic relationship. Dramatherapists are both artists and clinicians and draw on their trainings in theatre/drama and therapy to create methods to engage clients in effecting psychological, emotional, and social changes. The therapy gives equal validity to body and mind within the dramatic context: stories, myths, play texts, puppetry, masks and improvisation are examples of the range of artistic interventions a dramatherapist may employ. These will enable the client to explore difficult and painful life experiences through an indirect approach. Dramatherapy is a diverse profession and it is important to ensure that those who practise it are maintaining the standards appropriate to the profession. Dramatherapists, along with art therapists and music therapists, need to register with the Health and Care Professions Council. Dramatherapy is formally recognised for employment purposes by the National Health Service. In addition, many dramatherapists work in social services, education, prisons (Home Office) and the private sector. Music Therapy Nationally recognised courses in music therapy have been established in the UK since the late 1960s. Qualified practitioners register with the British Association of Music Therapists (BAMT). All practitioners need to register with the Health and Care Professions Council. Music plays an important role in our everyday lives. It can be exciting or calming, joyful or poignant, can stir memories and powerfully resonate with our feelings, helping us to express them and to communicate with others. Music therapy uses these qualities and the musical components of rhythm, melody and tonality to provide a means of relating within a therapeutic relationship. In music therapy, people work with a wide range of accessible instruments and their voices to create a musical language which reflects their emotional and physical condition; this enables them to build connections with their inner selves and with others around them. Music therapists support the client’s communications with a bespoke combination of improvised or pre-composed instrumental music and voice, either sung or spoken. Individual and group sessions are provided in many settings such as hospitals, schools, hospices and care homes, and the theoretical framework that informs the therapist’s approach will depend on their training and the health needs which are to be met. The professional body is recognised by state authorities and is able to negotiate on behalf of its members with various employing bodies. Music Therapy is formally recognised for employment purposes by the National Health Service. In addition, many music therapists work in social services, education, prisons (Home Office) and the private sector. Dance-movement Psychotherapy Nationally recognised courses in dance/movement psychotherapy have been established in the UK since the late 1980s. Qualified practitioners register with the Association of Dance Movement Psychotherapists (ADMT) and the UK Council of Psychotherapy (UKCP). Dance-movement psychotherapy is the psychotherapeutic use of movement and dance through which a person can engage creatively in a process to further their emotional, cognitive, physical and social integration. It is founded on the principle that movement reflects an individual’s patterns of thinking and feeling. Through acknowledging and supporting clients’ movements the therapist encourages the development and integration of new adaptive movement patterns together with the emotional experiences that accompany such changes. Dance movement psychotherapy is practised as both individual and group therapy in health, education and social service settings and in private practice. While the documented use of dance as a healing art can be found in ancient history from all over the world, the contemporary profession incorporates dance, movement and psychological theories and therapeutic practices developed primarily in Europe and North America. Entry into the profession is through the successful completion of a post-graduate degree. Currently there are three post-graduate DMP training programmes recognized by ADMP UK, delivered by universities that are members of ECArTE: University of Derby Goldsmiths, University of London University of Roehampton


The body of research within the field of the arts therapies in the UK is growing. This has included research conducted within PhD programmes in all the disciplines, which looks at both the clinical application and effectiveness of the discipline as well as methodological and philosophical roots. The International Centre for Research in the Arts Therapies was set up in 2009 at Imperial College London to support the development and research in the arts therapies. Roehampton University has a centre for Research in the arts therapies: https://www.roehampton.ac.uk/research-centres/centre-for-international-research-in-arts-and-play-therapies/ Studies have also been carried out to work towards an evidence base. For example, there is a current Randomised Controlled Trial using dramatherapy with children diagnosed with autism being carried out by the Charity Roundabout https://www.roundaboutdramatherapy.org.uk/about/ The Arts Therapies are recognised within the NICE guidelines (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) – as for example the use of the arts therapies in the early intervention of psychosis https://www.nice.org.uk/sharedlearning/dramatherapy-in-early-intervention-in-psychosis and dramatherapy groups for people living with psychosis. For an outline of evidence in the arts therapies, the NICE guidelines document different research projects here https://www.evidence.nhs.uk/search?q=art%20therapy%20mental%20health.