Submit a Manuscript to the Journal

Canadian Journal of Art Therapy

For a Special Issue on

Painting a Bird’s Eye View: Reviewing of Art Therapy Outcomes and Efficacy

Manuscript deadline
15 October 2023

Cover image - Canadian Journal of Art Therapy

Special Issue Editor(s)

Haley Toll, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, NL, Canada
[email protected]

Submit an ArticleVisit JournalArticles

Painting a Bird’s Eye View: Reviewing of Art Therapy Outcomes and Efficacy

Fields and practices advance through consolidating, critiquing, and building upon existing research and literature to construct theory, methodologies, and practices (Gopalakrishnan & Ganeshkumar, 2013; Liberati et al., 2009). By painting a comprehensive picture of our practice with reviews, we can gain broader insights into outcomes, trends, and research gaps to inform future practice and advocate for our field in work settings. Therefore, it is crucial to critically understand the broader implications of art therapy interventions by connecting, critiquing, and building upon existing research through reviews, such as systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and scoping reviews. Problems in scholarship, such as limited insight, arise when fields lack systematic understandings of a field's body of knowledge (Liberati et al., 2009).

This special issue of the Canadian Journal of Art Therapy: Research, Practice, and Issues/Revue canadienne d'art-thérapie: recherche, pratique et enjeux aims to explore the latest research on art therapy and its impact on diverse populations, contributing to evidence-based practices within the field of art therapy. We invite art therapy researchers, scholars, educators, and practitioners to contribute to this special issue by submitting systematic reviews, meta-analyses, scoping reviews, and other creative forms of reviews, that investigate the effects and implications of art therapy interventions on diverse populations. We welcome a wide range of review types to provide valuable insights into the effectiveness, implications, and applicability of art therapy with diverse populations. Additionally, all research methodologies, including qualitative, community participatory action, and arts-based research, can be included in the reviews.

Rationale and Potential Impact: Systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and scoping reviews play an important role in advancing the field of art therapy, with potential benefits and impacts outlined below:

  1. Public Policy: Findings from systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and scoping reviews can inform policymakers about the effectiveness and outcomes of art therapy interventions for diverse populations. This can lead to increased integration of art therapy into public health policies, mental health programs, community initiatives, and art therapy job creation (Fancourt & Finn, 2009; Lavis, 2009).
  2. Art Therapy Education: Systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and scoping reviews can provide insights that inform art therapy curriculum development. This ensures that art therapy students and future art therapists have effective and ethically sound interventions to support different populations.
  3. Future Research: Large reviews can help identify gaps and limitations in the existing literature to guide future art therapy research directions. Rigorous and transparent reviews can inform the design of empirical studies, identify emerging trends, inform innovative methodologies, and facilitate the development of evidence-based practices (Kapitan, 2017; Munn et al., 2018). Furthermore, they can create a sound evidence base and rationale to obtain funding for future research.
  4. Art Therapists' Practice: Systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and scoping reviews can build a repository of knowledge for art therapists to create evidence-based guidelines and recommendations to enhance their practice. The reviews can succinctly inform therapeutic approaches, interventions, and strategies, ultimately improving client outcomes and enriching the therapeutic experience (Joschko et al., 2022).

Types of Reviews: We welcome manuscripts that may explore, but are not limited to, the following themes:

  1. Reviews, such as systematic reviews and meta-analyses, of art therapy interventions for specific populations, including children, adolescents, adults, older adults, individuals with disabilities, or individuals from marginalized communities.
  2. Innovative and new art therapy approaches to support diverse populations during times of crisis.
  3. Scoping reviews exploring the breadth and depth of art therapy approaches and frameworks for diverse populations in different cultural, social, and geographical contexts.
  4. Diverse forms of collating and organizing evidence and research that are not covered with systematic reviews but are relevant to the field of art therapy and can include arts-based responses.
  5. Meta-analyses that look at outcomes or effectiveness of art therapy interventions on well-being in diverse populations.
  6. Reviews that explore mechanisms of change in art therapy. For example, the roles of creative expression, symbolism, and therapeutic relationships.
  7. Evaluations of the impact or outcomes of art therapy on specific mental health experiences, such as symptoms of anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, burnout, etc.
  8. Reviews investigating how art therapy may impact physical health concerns, such as chronic pain management.
  9. Reviews that explore cultural responsiveness and inclusivity of art therapy for diverse populations.
  10. Assessments analyzing cost-effectiveness and sustainability of art therapy interventions in health and community settings.
  11. Reviews exploring art therapy’s potential ability to promote social justice, inclusion, and equity in post-pandemic societies and communities.
  12. Research on art therapy and community-based practices in the context of anti-oppressive frameworks.
  13. Ethical considerations and challenges of implementing art therapy interventions during and after the pandemic.

Note: It can be helpful to consult established systematic review guidelines, such as PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) (Page et al., 2020) and the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions (Higgins et al., 2022), for systematic, scoping reviews, and meta-analyses.

We look forward to receiving your contributions and advancing our understanding of the effects and implications of art therapy interventions for diverse populations, contributing to the fields of art therapy, mental health, and public health.


Haley Toll, Editor, Canadian Journal of Art Therapy

Types of articles:

Welcoming submissions of diverse forms of original empirical research that are guided by CATA’s Ethical Standards of Practice. Submissions may include:

  • Cover Artwork: A Jpg artwork, along with a brief written a artist statement (200-400 words) that explores the special issue theme.
  •  Art Therapy Research Articles: Articles that have a clear research methodological base and theoretical orientation. Length: 2000-4000 words, including photographs.
  • Art Therapy in Practice: Practical applications and tools of art therapy practice, based in contemporary literature and a theoretical orientation. Length: 2000-3000 words, including photographs.
  • Art Therapy Approaches: Theoretical contemplations and inquiries based on historical and contemporary research Length: 2000-3000 words, including photographs.
  • Soundings: Perspectives, opinions, proposals, and artistic responses. This research must also include theoretical orientation and relevant literature. Length: 2000 words including photographs.
  • Book Reviews: Please contact editor: [email protected]

Submission Instructions

Please submit your manuscript to the journal's Submission Portal no later than 15 October 2023.

Guidelines for submissions:

  • Send submissions in MS Word format; anonymized for peer review.
  • Manuscript format: typewritten, double-spaced, with margins of at least one inch on all sides.
  • Do not include headers, footers or other types of special formatting.
  • Number manuscript pages consecutively throughout the paper.
  • Provide an abstract that summarizes the article (100 to 250 words). Avoid abbreviations, diagrams, and reference to the text in the abstract.
  • Refer to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Seventh Edition (Quick Reference Guide) for guidelines to prepare references, citations, and general style of manuscripts).

For more information on submission guidelines, please see the author instructions.

All submissions will undergo rigorous and anonymous peer-review process to ensure the quality of accepted papers. Submissions should be sent electronically, following the instructions available on the journal's submission portal.

Note that the Canadian Art Therapy Association Journal also accepts submissions on an ongoing basis for upcoming publications.

Instructions for AuthorsSubmit an Article