A literature review exploring the use of art psychotherapy as an intervention with children and young people experiencing social exclusion and isolation in schools
This paper presents a narrative review of literature surrounding the use of art psychotherapy as an intervention for children and young people (CYP) experiencing social exclusion and isolation in school. The purpose of this review is to first examine a range of literature which identifies potential factors contributing towards social exclusion and isolation, including: physical and/or learning disability, refugee status, poverty and attachment issues. Secondly, literature which explores the impact of social exclusion and isolation on the health and mental well-being of these individuals will be critically analysed. By exploring how this can be seen in the therapeutic relationship, the artwork itself, group art psychotherapy and by examining the integration of art psychotherapy within school, this review critically evaluates the use of art psychotherapy in exploring these issues. A qualitative methodology is used in order to reflect on the relevance of the work undertaken in this field so far. Thematic analysis will be used as the method to gather, appraise and evaluate the literature. Ethical considerations are made regarding the art psychotherapist’s position of privilege when working with this demographic. Lastly, this review will address the gaps found within the existing research, with a particular focus on the relevance of further studies regarding social isolation due to the coronavirus pandemic. In undertaking this review, I acknowledge my own bias when critiquing the literature, due to my own background, identity and previous experience as an art psychotherapist within schools.