Social work is a science and a profession in which we encounter a wide variety of individuals who face different kinds of adversity in their lives. This encourages social workers to look for different ways of working, drawing first on the social work knowledge we have developed, and then on other disciplines. Interdisciplinary networking allows social work as a profession and science to continuously evolve or find ways to get closer to people and to engage with them. Art therapies that use different types of art are one of these fields of expertise that offer a possible range of skills for action, for exploring solutions in different ways, and for an innovative approach to the process of co-creation in social work. Different expressive and creative arts media can also be used in social work to create spaces for communication and expression and to promote personal and social change.
In my theoretical research, I conducted an extensive literature review to explore the usefulness of expressive and creative arts media (dance, music, visual arts, and drama) in social work. I have been looking at how art can be used in social work to support engagement with people. I researched what are the theoretical backgrounds of different art therapies (development of the stoke, definition, way of working, and structure of sessions), what are the findings of research on expressive-creative arts media in helping processes, what are the advantages and limitations of using expressive-creative arts media, what are the links and differences between art therapies and social work, and how can expressive-creative arts media be used in social work on a micro-level, mezzo-, and macro-levels.
The research shows the importance and potential of using expressive and creative arts media on different levels of social work.