NHS Lothian Arts Therapies

Working without Words

What are Arts Therapies?

Arts therapies are psychological treatments in which the art form – art, music, dance or drama – is used as the primary means of expression and communication in therapy. Non-verbal, creative therapies aim to support and develop communication, improve mood, treat negative symptoms and assist people who are experiencing difficulties with interpersonal relationships and isolation. 
Arts therapists work with individuals and groups across the lifespan with a variety of needs, abilities and disabilities.

How does it work?

Arts therapists support people to engage with an art form as a medium to communicate emotional issues which may be confusing or distressing. For example, one image, or musical interaction can hold a multiple of meanings and can evoke a multitude of responses. The use of arts helps to develop a safe and trusting therapeutic relationship and ultimately promote positive change which in turn facilitates change.

Arts Therapists

Arts therapists are trained to Masters Level, and must be registered with the Health and Care professions council. In line with NHS Lothian Values we embrace Teamwork to provide an Open, Honest and Responsible services for the communities we serve. We support recovery, well-being and social inclusion, individual choice and independent living through treating people who access our service with Care, Compassion, Dignity and Respect and high Quality care. For more information please visit:

Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC)
T: 0845 300 4472

British Association of Arts Therapists (BAAT)
T: 020 7686 4216

British Association for Music Therapy (BAMT)
T: 020 7837 6100

We are always interested in receiving comments and suggestions on how we can improve the care we offer. Should you have any complaints about the Arts Therapies service you received please contact:

NHS Lothian Complaints Team
Waverley Gate, 2nd Floor, 2-4 Waterloo Place, Edinburgh EH1 3EG
TEL: 0131 536 3370    EMAIL: feedback@nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk

Last Reviewed: 05/08/2015