Yearly Archives: 2010

Status makes us Happy

Although money doesn’t make us happy, research suggests that status does, opening an interesting debate as to what status actually means. At first glance status appears to be a ‘reactive’ response where our sense of it is based largely upon the feedback of others. So then where does our opinion of ourselves play into this dynamic? How plausible is an intrinsically rather than extrinsically defined sense of status? In essence I suppose intrinsically defined status’ is what we refer to as ‘mental wellbeing’; a sense of our own worth that comes from within and does not require a huge public profile or a large home to be realised. Instead, what true status appears to come down to, – the status that makes us happy, is the outward manifestation of the impact we have made on the world, our world. It’s about feeling we have made a positive contribution, no matter how big nor how small and feeling that that contribution – has been heard.


Government ‘to measure happiness’

Government ‘to measure happiness’

If the tone of the posts in relation to the government’s recent announcement that they would be measuring happiness on a national level are to be believed, they are clearly being mislead by the journalistic dictum of ‘titles inverted commas’.  Mental well-being in the workplace – which is essentially what this study is tied to – is a serious issue that costs the UK government and business over £28 billion each year. I applaud a move to ‘measure’ happiness. The government already knows there is a problem and until you know its scope you cannot begin to devise a solution.

Mental Wellbeing in the workplace. What evidence supports a role for art therapy as an effective intervention?


Mental well-being in the workplace is an issue of increasing government, organisational and business interest as the social and economic costs of challenges to mental well-being are increasingly recognised.  Supporting mental well-being in the workplace is, however, a complex intervention challenge. In contrast to the illness-model approach of previous stress-based interventions, new research suggests that proactive, wellness modelled interventions provide a more appropriate solution for the support and enhancement of employee mental well-being.

In response to the need to identify intervention approaches which can proactively and successfully respond to this multi-faceted issue, the objective of this research was to identify what evidence supports art therapy as an effective mental well-being in the workplace intervention.

To achieve this objective, this study employed a thematic analysis of primary research on mental well-being in the workplace and art therapy interventions with adult, non-clinical populations. The research captured evidence from a wide range of both qualitative and quantitative studies to reflect the ‘meaningfulness’ that is criticised for being lost by traditional systematic reviews. By synthesising themes between studies, this research identified the characteristics that support and challenge both employee mental well-being and intervention success.

A logic model was also designed and used to illustrate the findings of the research.

The first hypothesis, that art therapy is a sufficiently flexible intervention to respond to the complex mental-wellbeing needs of work-place populations was partially supported by the findings of the study. The second hypothesis, that art therapy is a sufficiently flexible technique to approach well-being from a proactive-wellness model of intervention was supported by the findings.

The findings indicate a high level of cross-over between the characteristics of both art therapy interventions and successful individual-level mental well-being in the workplace interventions. These characteristics included providing interventions which are meaningful, empowering and enjoyable.

The findings of this research indicate support for art therapy as an effective individual-level, mental-well-being in the workplace intervention; highlighting areas of both efficacy and challenge. Although the results are promising, more field research is needed to explore the use of art therapy with workplace populations.