Poetry therapy in practice: identifying the mechanisms of poetry therapy and other percieved effects on participants


Alfrey, A. 2020. Poetry therapy in practice: identifying the mechanisms of poetry therapy and other percieved effects on participants. Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University Salomons Institute of Applied Psychology
AuthorsAlfrey, A.
Qualification nameDoctor of Clinical Psychology

Background - Poetry therapy is a promising but heterogeneous and under-evidenced form of creative art therapy. Theories of change have been proffered but are modelspecific and poorly evidenced in the empirical literature.

Aims – To systematically retrieve, review, and synthesise empirical literature exploring mechanisms of pan-theoretical poetry therapy, providing a united understanding of how poetry therapy operates to guide future research and practice.

Methods – A systematic search of six databases yielded 161 papers. Fourteen met the inclusion criteria, spanning individual and group approaches. Mechanisms and effects were extracted and synthesised into a governing framework and logic model. Stakeholder consultation was used to validate results.

Results – 25 primary mechanisms and 54 associated effects were identified. These were synthesised into logic model characterised by five core processes: Engaging, Feeling, Exploring, Connecting, and Transferring (“EFECT”). These processes were associated with multifarious benefits, impacting cognitive, emotional and behavioural domains.

Conclusions – The mechanisms and effects of poetry therapy can be understood via the EFECT model. This should now be tested empirically. The model can then be used to guide a united, rigorous research programme, helping to bring poetry therapy into evidence-based policy and practice.

KeywordsPoetry therapy; Logic; Model; Mecahnism; Effect
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Deposited21 May 2021
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