About the manual

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The idea of drafting a manual grew out of clinical experience and a growing recognition that art therapists were going to need to become clearer about the nature of the interventions they can offer.

The content of the manual has been influenced and guided by an expert panel who took part in a Delphi study and six generous art therapists who kindly agreed to be interviewed about their dyadic practice.

Many other art therapists, particularly those who trialled and answered questionnaires and those who have attended dyadic art therapy trainings, have helped develop the content of the manual.

With an online format, the manual can continue to grow and develop, incorporating feedback from practicing dyadic art therapists. The manual is intended to be descriptive rather than prescriptive.

Currently this manual and website only describes dyadic art therapy with individual dyads, not group work.

For more information about parent-child art therapy groups please see the work of Lucille Proulx (for dyadic art therapy with pre-school children), or Penelope Hall and Hilary Hosea (for groups with parents and infants).


The manual seeks to present a developing and evolving description of Dyadic Art Therapy rather than a definitive one.

The content of the manual is based on therapists’ and service users’ accounts of Dyadic Art Therapy. The research which led to the development of the manual did not focus on mechanisms of action.

There are many possible ways to use a manual including

  • as a clinical resource

  • as a way of sharing practice

  • as a training resource

  • to link treatment processes to outcomes

  • to clarify treatment goals

  • to establish clinical standards

In later stages of development, the manual may be used to investigate the efficacy of the intervention.


The research contributing to the creation of this manual was hosted by the University of Sheffield and funded by the National Institute of Health Services Research.

The manual presents independent research and as such the views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health.