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  • Writer's pictureSamantha Badrock

What causes stress in the workplace and how Art Therapy can Help

Did you know that in Australia “more than $133.9 million was paid in benefits to workers experience who had made claims related to workplace stress during the 2004/2005 tax year” and, according to the National Health and Safety Commission, “work-related stress accounts for the longest stretches of absenteeism”

Let's be honest here, we are ain a supercell storm of issues in the workplace as we see a combinations of factors contributing to this workplace crisis We have become a litigious society, workers are becoming harder to find across all sectors and the stressors external to the workplace like the rise in the cost of living, and requirement for 2 person income homes to just function is all compounding stress in the workplace .

With that in mind, there are 5 main causes of stress in the workplace that we can identify:

  1. Workplace culture – this includes workplace bullying, discrimination, and exclusion.

  2. Workplace relationships – this includes the professional relationship employees and managers have with each other, based on mutual respect and cooperation.

  3. Poor managerial practices – this includes managers that blame their subordinates to cover their incompetence, or frequent changes in managerial practices so employees are left feeling confused about their role and responsibilities

  4. Role conflicts – this includes different approaches to a role that can cause employees and managers to clash.

  5. Demands of the job – this refers to specific jobs that are inherently stressful, including Art being a police officer or paramedic.

HOW CAN WE REDUCE STRESS IN THE WORKPLACE? Art Therapy in the workplace is now trending as a cost effective way for businesses to minimise stress-related issues in the workplace. This modality of stress reduction can reduce stress can be viewed as a preventative option to help ensure long term productivity and a more harmonious workplace culture. These sessions can focus on objectives that vary from reducing stress experienced by employees and upper management, relaxation or focus on team building exercises, and problem resolution.


This activity is designed as a warm up to reduce barriers to creative expression. It also gets people working together.

1) Divide the group into pairs and provide each client (in the pair) with a

different coloured marker and one sheet of A4 white paper.

2) Instruct each client to draw, with their coloured marker, five lines on the

piece of paper. These lines can be any size or shape – but they should not

touch each other.

3) When every client has finished this, ask them to exchange their 5-line

drawing (sheet of paper) with the other client in the pair.

4) Instruct everyone that they are required to draw on the sheet of paper, and

that whatever they draw must use all the five lines. These five lines must

always remain visible, that is they cannot be “coloured” over. At the end of

this activity, the client’s drawing needs to have used all the five lines – no

matter how silly the drawing may end up looking.

5) Let everyone in the group know that only 10 minutes will be allocated for

this activity and then ask them to start. Observe how each client approaches

the task.

6) At the end of the 10 minutes, ask each client to exchange their drawings

with their partner. Instruct each client to offer positive “feedback” about the


7) After this, ask each client to share their experience of this activity. That is,

was it boring or fun, insightful or silly? Encourage each client to be honest as this will help you to gauge their attitude towards creative arts and self-


If you would like to find out more about how we can help reduce stress and build a cohesive workplace, simply get in contact with Samantha.

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