Provision of arts therapies for people with severe mental illness

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Purpose of review

Arts therapies are still inadequately regulated throughout the world despite a 100-year-long tradition, a vast number of academically trained therapists and importance in treating psychiatric patients. It is essential that more evidence-based studies are undertaken.

Recent findings

Current international guidelines focus on the efficacy and effectiveness of arts therapies. New international evidence-based studies reporting clear-cut therapeutic effects of art therapy, music therapy and dance movement therapy are described here, with a focus on developments in Australia, Egypt and the United States.


Further effort must be put into the development of evidence-based treatment programmes for all arts therapies, and effort needs to go into the establishment of arts therapists as a profession, with appropriate training standards.

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