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Creative play in therapy and mental health

Nick Lloyd Writer/photographer/designer @photographs_etc Jean-François Jacques Dramatherapist, Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust Correspondence: nickrlloyd@gmail.com

Introduction

This paper provides a dialogical reflection on how a dramatherapy intervention was experienced as part of an adult community mental health service in the NHS.

It is unusual in many respects, as it outlines an often experimental and experiential process to approaching mental health therapy from the joint perspective of both practitioner and patient.

This paper brings into a dialogue the two different voices of the dyad to describe a therapeutic process, but also to better understand the benefits of creative forms of therapy within mental health provision.

It was developed as part of the therapeutic work between the authors, Nick Lloyd and Jean-François Jacques. We both agreed that our experience would be worth sharing to provide a way of thinking about creative collaboration in mental health.

Although we both had our own roles and identity in the developing process, the mutual commitment and trust which developed helped encourage and nurture many unexpected and positive outcomes.

The journey

Nick: I’d had a long undiagnosed history of depression and anxiety that had rapidly become unmanageable, leading to my exit from a job that had become increasingly toxic.

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About Mental Health Nursing

This special themed edition of Mental Health Nursing is on art and therapy in mental health. It includes: - Articles on the history and use of art therapy in modern practice - Service user views - Reflections on using arts therapies - Part one of a comic series on suicide prevention - Student perspective - Interview with a head arts therapist