The ZTA conceptualisation of ‘Therapeutic Art’ draws on the key principles of ‘Art Therapy’ theory and practice  and the ‘Arts in Health’ movement in the UK . ‘Art Therapy’ and ‘Arts in Health’ are supported theoretically and have a strong evidence base for the treatment and improvement of well-being for people of all ages who experience mental health problems  . Therapeutic Art practice involves using art (drawing/painting/clay) alongside a mental health professional either individually or in a group. It is a non-judgmental and unpressured approach which enables expression of thoughts and feelings and is particularly useful where people with mental health problems struggle to verbally communicate their difficulties. Improving communication relieves patients’ isolation and distress and helps mental health professionals to rapidly gain understanding of the causes and nature of their problems, aiding prompt diagnosis and treatment.
THE ZAMBIA THERAPEUTIC ART COURSE
ZTA founders and trainers are experienced Art Therapists and trainers in mental health services in Scotland and registered as ‘Art Therapists’ with the Health Care and Professionals Council (HCPC) in the UK. From 2011 they designed, developed and delivered a short practice-based training in Therapeutic Art – ‘The ZTA Course’ – specifically for mental health professionals and trainees in Zambia. Trainees' competencies are assessed and graded certificates awarded. Between 2015 and 2019 250 trainees completed the full course. Initially the approach was one of respectful enquiry to see if Therapeutic Art was relevant or useful in the Zambian context. Based on continuing reflection and evaluation by trainees and trainers the content has become more formalised and structured with a Manual that is reviewed and updated annually.
THERAPEUTIC ART FOR CLINICAL PRACTICE: COURSE OVERVIEW
This short practice- based course covers the theoretical basis for using art therapeutically as a psychosocial intervention. It can be delivered over 6 weeks or intensively over a working week. It introduces trainees to the experience of art making and its potential in communication and relationship building, gives them the skills to use the approach with patients within their normal clinical practice and the knowledge of how it can be used with different patient groups.
To understand the place of art in human development. Presentation and practical exercises
How it related to emotions and memory through its non-verbal/sensory nature Presentation and practical exercises discussion and reflection.
To know how it can be used in the caring professions – Art Therapy, Arts in health and community arts presentation references
To be familiar with the use of simple art making materials and techniques. Practical exercises
Be able to reflect on how art making affects them practical exercises and reflection
To understand the core principles of using therapeutic art. Presentation and work with patients
Be able to introduce the use of art to potential patient/clients practical exercises and work with patients
Be able to observe, record and communicate how patient uses the art making presentation patient sessions and discussion.
Share reflections with patient and other professionals and use this to inform treatment approaches. Patient sessions and discussion
Incorporate therapeutic use of art into normal clinical practice where appropriate. Patient sessions and discussion.
COMPETENCIES Will be familiar with the importance of art in human development and how this is relevant to the caring professions. Be able to use art therapeutically effectively in normal clinical practice with a range of patients, 1/1 or in groups, to support change and recovery.
TRAINING OF TRAINERS (ToT)
Following a Feasibility Study in 2016 a two stage ToT programme was developed and successfully carried out so that by 2019 there were 8 Trained trainers one of whom as a Certified Master Trainer is able to conduct ToT. In 2018 they came together as ZART and ZTA and ZART are working together to embed the training and practice of Therapeutic Art sustainably within the health and social care systems of Zambia. Only certified trainers are authorised to deliver The ZTA Course.