danceA dance movement psychotherapist and researcher at Edge Hill University is launching a series of intensive weekends focussing on the positive impact arts have on people’s health.

Professor Vicky Karkou believes that the arts, if appropriately and sensitively used, can contribute towards people’s wellbeing.

She also believes that psychotherapy through visual art, dance, drama or music, known as arts psychotherapies, delivered by a trained practitioner have a lot to contribute toward the broad area of ‘arts for wellbeing’.

Vicky KarkouBased on her experience of working with vulnerable children and adults in schools, voluntary organisations and the NHS, and her research and teaching experience in arts psychotherapies, she has organised intensive weekends on the topic, which are geared towards those interested in the therapeutic uses of dance, drama, art and music.

“I have devoted over 20 years of my professional life in researching the arts and their impact on wellbeing,” said Vicky.

“I moved to the UK in 1993 with a desire to explore different ways of connecting with one’s self and creating links between body and mind. I’m now examining in more detail current practice, how arts therapists work and seeing whether what they are doing is effective. Contributions and support that can be offered for people faced with depression across the life span is an area I am currently interested in.

“The intensive weekend in April, which I’m running in collaboration with the International Centre for Arts Psyotherapists Training in Mental Health, will draw upon existing experience and contemporary research on arts therapies for depression. This aims to provide continuing professional development opportunities for therapists and other mental health workers.”

She said: “Depression is a disease that affects a large number of the population. However, psychological therapies are not sufficiently utilised and arts therapies are even less often available for those who suffer. My workshop will look at this in more detail and will reflect on the range of evidence that supports arts treatment for depression.”

International speaker Professor Karkou is currently editing her third book on dance for wellbeing, a book that will be published by Oxford University Press. She also keeps a small psychotherapy private practice as part of the arts and therapies co-operative Emerging Paths, which she has co-founded and currently co-directs.

As a dance movement psychotherapist, Vicky has a bias towards embodied work which is reflected in the variety of the topics covered in the intensive weekends:

  • 26th to 27th April, Working with Depression through the Arts Psychotherapies: Research Evidence and Clinical Applications
  • 14th to 15th June, The Kestenberg Movement Profile in Relationships

They are aimed at artists, therapists, counsellors, medics, social workers, health professionals, educators and psychologists.

For further information and bookings, see the intensive weekends page or please email Victoria Marsden on