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Using creative engagement to support healthcare workers

The Team CaRE Project: Creativity, Resilience and Engagement

The recent COVID-19 pandemic resulted in care professionals being thrown into pressurized working environments, adapting their skills and demonstrating professional responsiveness and flexibility. The pandemic reached a critical peak that stretched physical, community, social and care resources. The impact of crises on the mental health of care professionals is varied however first impressions suggest a rise in depression, stress, paranoia, fear, traumatic responses, and bereavement complications.

Interventions to help care professionals with their mental health and roles need to relate to the relational context and therefore are required to be accessible and aligned with the professional needs of carers.

According to recent research, successful crisis intervention is required not only to be helpful for individual care professionals, but should also focus on how to enable successful community recovery.

This NHS-led project aims to evaluate changes to stress and resilience following co-produced workshops for Healthcare teams.

Arts therapies have been widely used in mental health services to treat a range of mental health issues. Over recent years the arts therapies have been offered alongside other treatments to help in a broad range of crisis situations and recommended to support the workforce during and after complex emergencies.

The CaRE Project provides co-produced creative team approaches to enable people to be able to share their experiences and to build team resources and aspirations.

The workshops are facilitated by Allied Health professionals who are trained to offer a range of arts-based experiences. All sessions are facilitated by UKCP/ Health and Care Professions Council registered professionals who are experienced in working with teams and organisations through the use of arts and experiential exercises. The project provides up to four creative workshops, or an awayday developed to inspire and create new ways of working together.

The evaluation of this project is being led by Brunel University with access to 40 teams in London and Scotland and focuses on feedback, acceptability, and quantitative change.

Examples of feedback from healthcare workers

“People's willingness to share and open up and the depth and richness of the arts engagement. It really surprised me and helped us feel connected and creative.”

“It felt that there was a progression in the experiential parts, which allow to gradually step into a more reflective position.”

“I think it would hopefully also have led to some feeling more empowered and compassionate to those around them in the team, I know it did ignite that for me.”

“Everyone seemed really engaged and interacted positively with the other members of the Team.”

“Yes, I found this helpful, using this metaphor to explore the team. It helped me to acknowledge how separate I can feel from the team, especially working across wards.”


Arts-Based Interventions for Professionals in Caring Roles During and After Crisis: A Systematic Review of the Literature

Paintings by nurses
poster of the project

Meet the Principal Investigator(s) for the project

Professor Dominik Havsteen-Franklin
Professor Dominik Havsteen-Franklin - Dominik Havsteen-Franklin is a Professor of Practice (Arts Therapies) at Brunel University, with a Ph.D. in Art Psychotherapy and Metaphor. He is also head of the International Centre for Arts Psychotherapies Training (ICAPT) for Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, Vice President for the European Federation of Art Therapy and a member of the Council for the British Association of Art Therapists. His research focuses on applying empirical methods to investigating and evaluating the use of arts to facilitate changes in health conditions. His recent research has centred on co-designing and investigating Arts-based Dynamic Interpersonal Therapy (ADIT) for depression, Creative and Resilience Engagement (CaRE) for frontline healthcare workers, developing arts-based psychosocial practice in South Africa, and is a co-applicant for an NIHR funded large scale RCT (ERA) investigating the effectiveness of arts therapies for heterogenous groups in mental health services. Dominik supervises PhD students from a range of arts disciplines. He also continues to work as a consultant, an art psychotherapist and a clinical supervisor for the National Health Service.  

Related Research Group(s)

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Embodiment in Academic and Professional Practice - Development of an enhanced awareness of bodies as sensors of crucial information about ourselves and our reality; Enhancing our performance as human beings, practitioners, researchers and educators.

Partnering with confidence

Organisations interested in our research can partner with us with confidence backed by an external and independent benchmark: The Knowledge Exchange Framework. Read more.

Project last modified 12/01/2024