Each Recovery Tree Project is part of on-going research project into the use of Art in a secure healthcare setting.



-To co-create a beautiful Recovery Tree mural in a shared space at an Elysium Healthcare venue



Service Users and staff work with professional artist and facilitator Dr Maria Hayes.

Participation includes:

– Drawing and Painting (Active)

– Watching and looking (Reflective)

– Discussing and the mural, art and life (Dialectic)

– Just ‘being’ (Presence)



– To engage with the creative process

– To co-create ‘Art with a capital A’ in ways that have a therapeutic value and effect

– To produce a beautiful mural for the enjoyment of all


Participants are:

– Encouraged to challenge themselves creatively and are supported in this

– Asked for suggestions for content for the mural beyond the tree image (e.g: Animals, birds, wildlife, pets)

– Asked to respect the working environment including materials and equipment


These projects are a time limited intervention with an artist who is neither health staff nor patient, but ‘other’. For the duration, service users demonstrate and experience that they are more than their illness. The completed works are special, beautiful and meaningful. The process forges positive interpersonal connections between staff, service users and myself allowing us to work as equals and produce work of a high standard.

The feedback from staff includes:

‘Maria, you have excellent teaching skills and your approach towards our patients was individual. You have excellent communication skills and because of that patients were able to follow the instructions and to learn faster. You built a positive professional relationship with them in a short time.’ (OTA at The Copse)

‘Wonderful to see one stunning artwork develop and the colours bring warmth and depth’ (Gateway Recovery Centre)

‘This has been amazing to see it grow. Seeing the patients inspired and have purpose has been a joy to watch. It has brought the team together – thank you’ (Pinhoe View)

‘Service Users came to life and had a chance express themselves … They have their spark back.’ (St Mary’s Hospital)