University of Limerick
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Exploring the role and impact of visual art groups with multiple stakeholders in recovery-oriented mental health services

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posted on 2021-01-12, 12:05 authored by Tríona Mary McCaffrey, Paula Higgins, Heidi Morrison, Siobhán Nelligan, Aoife Clancy, Pui Sze CheungPui Sze Cheung, Sinéad Moloney
This arts-based study explored the role and impact of visual art in supporting collaborative working between service users and staff in a recovery-oriented mental health service in Ireland. A total of two service users and five staff members took part in three visual art focus groups led by a qualified art therapist. Afterwards, service user and staff experiences of focus group participation was investigated through individual semi-structured interviews that were analyzed using Thematic Content Analysis. Three original artworks were created in three focus groups, each of which represented how stakeholders wished their recovery-oriented service to develop in future. Analysis of interviews describing experiences of working with fellow mental health stakeholders in the focus groups revealed five common themes including: ‘Group art-marking engenders collaboration’, ‘The physicality of being in the art-making space evokes sensory experience’, ‘Group art-making can offer a sense of liberation’, ‘Group art-making raises questions about self-revelation’ and ‘Group art-making enables an atmosphere of equitity’. Findings suggest that when facilitated by an art therapist, group visual art making can offer stakeholders a creative, liberating and equitable environment that can foster the concept of co-production that is foundational to effective recovery-oriented working in mental health



The Arts in Psychotherapy;72, 101748




peer-reviewed The full text of this article will not be available in ULIR until the embargo expires on the 16/12/2022


This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in The Arts in Psychotherapy. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in The Arts in Psychotherapy, 2021, 72, 101748,



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