ERA is a research study comparing group arts therapies with group talking therapy to see if group arts therapies are effective for people with different types of mental illness. Arts therapies describe therapies that make use of an art form. Within ERA these consist of art therapy, music therapy and dance movement therapy.
Arts therapies use different art forms and creative activities to help people living with mental illness. We would like service users to try out either arts or talking therapy, both of which include regular meetings in groups. Arts therapies may help group members to express emotions and to have experiences that might not be possible in talking therapies alone.
While arts therapies are popular with many service users, they are not always provided in NHS services. So far, there has been little research to conclusively show that they are helpful and existing research has involved people with the same diagnosis (such as schizophrenia). The ERA study will involve people with a range of different diagnoses to reflect more closely what would happen in practice.