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The Vasarhelyi Method of Child Art Psychotherapy in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services: a stakeholder survey of clinical supervisors

  • M. McGovern (a1), A. Byrne (a2), M. McCormack (a2) and A. Mulligan (a3) (a4)



The Vasarhelyi Method of Child Art Psychotherapy (CAP) is a largely understudied psychotherapeutic modality. This study aims to describe the Vasarhelyi Method of CAP and to describe a stakeholder survey of the views and attitudes of CAP placement supervisors towards CAP among various Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) teams nationwide.


A phone- and letter-based survey of 17 CAP placement supervisors who oversee CAP masters students attached to CAMHS teams was performed. A questionnaire was designed enquiring about their experiences with CAP in their clinic and their thoughts on the validity of CAP in various conditions/patient demographics. Participants received written correspondence and were asked to return the survey by post; this was followed up by a telephone call to complete missing surveys.


In all, 12 (70.6%) complete surveys were returned. Of the 12 respondents, all considered the CAP student to be a valuable member of the team. In total, 10 respondents (83.33%) stated they would make regular use of the service if it were made available to them. With regard to the therapy itself, nine respondents (75%) believed it was better for internalising symptoms than externalising symptoms. Depression, anxiety, attachment difficulties, trauma, deliberate self-harm and possible psychosomatic illnesses are the conditions viewed as receiving the most benefit from CAP. No gender difference was reported.


CAP is considered an effective modality and valuable addition to a psychotherapeutic repertoire. Further, more extensive studies are needed in this field.


Corresponding author

*Address for correspondence: A. Mulligan, UCD Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Catherine McAuley Education and Research Centre, Nelson Street, Dublin 7, Ireland. (Email:


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Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine
  • ISSN: 0790-9667
  • EISSN: 2051-6967
  • URL: /core/journals/irish-journal-of-psychological-medicine
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