Arts therapies are forms of psychotherapy that use art, music or drama as a way of enabling people to communicate and understand  difficult feelings in a safe, supportive environment.

Surrey and Borders offer arts therapies to people of all ages who use our services, including those who have a learning disability.

About arts therapies

miniHarp.jpgArts therapies can help with understanding:

  • Disturbing thoughts or experiences
  • Feelings of depression and de-motivation
  • Why you want to withdraw or avoid social contact
  • Why you feel what you feel
  • Difficulties you may have relating to others
  • Difficulties with communication.

You don’t need to be good at art, music or drama or have previous experience of them to benefit from arts therapy. The aim isn’t to produce skilful art or accomplished performances, instead the process of creating art is used to express, explore and manage what you’re feeling. Arts therapists encourage you to work at a level comfortable for you and help to create a space where you feel able to express yourself.

Generally sessions are held weekly and you may be seen in an individual session or as part of a group depending on what is right for you. Session lengths can vary and, as with all aspects of your treatment, this will be discussed with you.

“Thank you so much for all your time and kindness. I feel very grateful to have had this opportunity to work through a difficult time.”

Art therapists

Arts therapists have a postgraduate qualification in the relevant arts therapy and are registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

The HCPC are a regulator, and were set up to protect the public and ensure quality. They keep a register of health and care professionals who meet standards for their training, professional skills, continuing development, behaviour and health.

Art, music and drama

Surrey and Borders offer three forms of arts therapy; art therapy, music therapy and drama therapy:

Art Therapy

Art therapy is a process by which individuals can explore aspects of themselves and their patterns of relating to others using art-making as the primary (or additional) way of communicating with their art therapist. Materials people use in art therapy include paints, felt pens, crayons, pencils, clay and collage materials.

Music Therapy

Music therapy provides a process through which people can express themselves, become aware of their feelings and interact more easily. The person taking part and their therapist do talk during sessions but most of their communication takes place through making music and sound together.

To find out more watch our music therapy video.

Drama Therapy

Dramatherapy uses the healing aspects of drama, theatre and role play to facilitate change. The therapeutic process involves creativity, imagination and personal learning and people might work with objects, puppets, story, movement and structured games.

“My therapy gave me a new way of thinking about my negative thoughts and my self-doubt. I try to be in the here and now and apply what I understand to my life today.”


These artworks were created by people who have used our arts therapies service:


“Thank you so much for all your time and kindness. I feel very grateful to have had this opportunity to work through a difficult time.”

See & hear experiences of Arts Therapies

What people say

We asked some people who have used our services to describe how arts therapies helped them:

“Producing artwork that has expressed unhelpful periods in my life helped to get rid of some negative feelings about myself.”

“My mind’s started working in a new way from before – I now have thoughts [and] make connections between my feelings and why they’re happening.”

“Not always having to talk – but playing music was more healing.”

“It’s been brilliant and I’m more at peace with myself and others now.”

“It's easier to draw what I can’t cope with saying.”

“I didn’t think I was going to do this and now I can. I’ve got it all out there in my painting instead of keeping it in. I couldn’t have done that without paint.”

"Sometimes saying it is hard – very hard and sometimes I can’t say it. But I’m more likely to say it here because it feels safer here than anywhere else.”

"I have uncovered the reasons behind my insecurities and found places for them. I am finally back in control of my own life.”


To take part in arts therapies sessions, you must already be using one of our services.

You can be referred by:

“I can highly recommend the service. More people should have access to and know about Arts Therapies.”

Contact us

To make a referral or for more information, please email, or contact one of our teams: