Creative arts occupations in therapeutic practice: a review of the literature

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The purpose of this study was to conduct a matrix method literature review of published research on the use of creative arts occupations in therapeutic practice. Peer-reviewed original research articles, published between the years 2000 and 2008, were included in the review. The research articles studied creative arts occupations as a therapeutic medium. Twenty-three articles, located through multiple electronic searches, were identified as meeting the criteria of the review.

Data analysis included quantitative analysis and qualitative analysis. The findings suggest that the use of creative arts occupations in therapeutic practice may have important qualitative value related to health and wellbeing. Six predominant outcomes were most frequently identified across the studies: enhanced perceived control, building a sense of self, expression, transforming the illness experience, gaining a sense of purpose and building social support.

The results suggest that qualitative research may well be the methodology of choice for the study of this topic and raise questions about the paucity of research in this area. Further research into the use of creative arts occupations as a therapeutic approach in occupational therapy and other health and social care disciplines is warranted.


Document Type: Review Article


Publication date: June 1, 2010

More about this publication?
  • The British Journal of Occupational Therapy (BJOT) is the official journal of the College of Occupational Therapists. Its purpose is to publish articles relevant to theory, practice, research, education and management in occupational therapy internationally.

    BJOT publishes research articles, critical reviews, practice analyses, opinion pieces, editorials, letters to the editor, book reviews and an annual index. Please refer to the author's guide at

    Submissions can be made at

    The 2013 Impact Factor for The British Journal of Occupational Therapy is 0.897.

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