Shifting terrains: Art psychotherapists’ testimonies and reflections on employment in austerity Britain

Emma MacKinnon, Alice Myles, Kristina Page, Taiseer Shelhi, Jill Westwood


This article considers the experiences of four recently qualified art psychotherapists as they move from training into work. It highlights the issues encountered and reflects the shifting field of employment as austerity Britain bites into public services and shapes possibilities. Creative testimonies of four women art psychotherapists are presented in collaboration with a woman art psychotherapy educator. Various themes are identified which include; the emotional experiences of change and transition, finding support beyond the training, seeking employment, the social and political implications of volunteering and self-employment, gender, race, adaptations of practise, sustaining core principles and values and finding ways to meet these experiences. These voices and views have relevance for newly qualified art psychotherapists, trainees, educators and other relevant professionals as they raise awareness of the issues, offer creative responses and suggest ways to meet and counter these challenges.

Keywords: art psychotherapy, employment, training, gender, race, art- responses 

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