University of Hertfordshire

  • Dominik Havsteen-Franklin
  • Nikolina Jovanovic
  • Nick Reed
  • Megan Charles
  • Christella Lucas
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-110
Number of pages8
JournalArts in Psychotherapy
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2017


This study aims to answer the question, How do arts psychotherapists describe their practice in session with clients who have severe mental illness? Personal construct psychology (PCP) methods were used to gather and build consensus about how arts psychotherapists describe in-session therapeutic constructs in adult mental health services, working with patients diagnosed with severe mental illnesses. PCP techniques were used in interviews with seven arts psychotherapists (art, music, drama and dance movement psychotherapists). The practitioners were encouraged to discuss in-session constructs relating to clinically significant events. PCP assumes that the interviewee holds personal perspectives and makes decisions based on their system of personal constructs. The results showed that there were overarching categories for the in-session constructs elicited from arts psychotherapists during interviews. These constructs were subjected to an intensive categorising process that produced a final set of 14 bipolar constructs describing 28 alternative therapeutic interventions. The in-session constructs cover a wide range of interventions from empathic attunement to narrative reconstruction.

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