Evidence gap map Vaktherapie in de forensische psychiatrie

Annemarie Abbing, Janet Moeijes, T. Bellemans, Suzanne Haeyen, Rosemarie Samaritter, Jooske van Busschbach, S.A.H. van Hooren

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned reportProfessional


Arts therapies and psychomotricity have been used in forensic psychiatry since the 1950s. Despite
positive experience in practice, there remains little research exists for arts therapies in forensic
psychiatry. Consequently, there is an ‘evidence gap’ when it comes to arts therapies in forensic
psychiatry. The aim of this project was to map the evidence gap and to compile an inventory of needs
based on practice in order to enable further knowledge development.
Systematic literature research was carried out into studies focusing on arts therapy interventions in
forensic care. Fifty studies were included. Although the quality of the majority of studies was poor to
average, the results suggest that the arts therapy interventions within forensic psychiatry that were
reviewed lead to an improvement in protective factors, including psychological and social/relational
functioning (all forms of arts therapy). Arts therapies can also help to reduce psychiatric symptoms,
particularly depression and anxiety (psychomotor therapy, art therapy, music therapy). The latter
would also seem to apply to criminal and antisocial behaviour (psychomotor therapy and a
combination of dance and drama), even though research in this area is still limited. There is a
considerable lack of research when it comes to addiction in forensic care, although four studies have
indicated that drama therapy and specific body-oriented psychomotor interventions show promising
Network meetings, interviews, and an online survey of arts therapists, referrers, patients, and
national/international researchers involved in forensic psychiatry have highlighted different needs in
effects research, research into active factors, and knowledge development in indication and the
development of arts therapy treatment modules.
The literature research and surveying of practice and science has led to the formulation of three gaps
aimed at 1) the effects of arts therapy interventions, 2) mechanisms of action and active factors,
and 3) development, innovation, and implementation of (potentially) effective arts therapy treatment
modules within forensic care. Resulting recommendations are:
• Research into the effects of arts therapy interventions that have already been described or that
offer promising signs in other countries
• Literature reviews into possible mechanisms of action and active elements and to then test these
• Practice mapping study to create a tool to adequately refer forensic patients
• Evidence based descriptions of interventions that are explicitly aimed at the risk and protective
factors to reduce direct or indirect recidivism
• To implement arts therapy interventions that are effective within forensic care in other countrie
Original languageEnglish
PublisherKwaliteit Forensische Zorg
Number of pages112
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


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