Professor Diane Waller

Academic Research Supervisor

Professional Biography

Diane's background is in fine art, ethnography and group analysis. A Leverhulme European Research scholarship enabled her to spend a year in Bulgaria and Macedonia, studying the effects of industrialisation on traditional arts. Later she pioneered training in art, group and intercultural psychotherapy at Goldsmiths, and helped to achieve statutory regulation for the arts therapies in 1997.

Diane worked extensively in Eastern Europe during the 1980s and 1990s, especially Bulgaria and former Jugoslavia, developing new psychosocial services. She has worked with a wide range of clients, including those with eating disorders, substance abuse, progressive illness, cancer and engaged in research with these groups; in parallel conducted sociological research into the development of the psychotherapies in the UK and Europe. In 2007 Diane was awarded an OBE for Services to Health. Other interests are in sport, dance, visual arts and animal welfare.


  • European Certificate of Psychotherapy, EAP, Vienna.
  • DPhil: History of Art Therapy as a Profession, University of Sussex
  • Post Graduate Diploma in Group Analytic Psychotherapy, LCP
  • Psychodynamic Interaction (Foundation Certificate) LCP
  • Art Teacher's Certificate, University of London.
  • MA by thesis:  Art Therapy, Dept of Cultural Studies, Royal College of Art
  • University Diploma in Fine Art, University of Oxford, Ruskin School
  • Institute for Learning: Full member (qualified teacher)


  • 2010:  Textiles from the Balkans, British Museum Press, London. Includes introduction based on author's research over past 20 years.
  • 2005:  Art Therapy and Cancer Care, with Sibbett, C. McGraw-Hill, Maidenhead
  • 2005:  Arts, Therapies, Communication: Different Approaches to a Unique Discipline, Vol. III (with Kossalapow, L and Scoble, S) Lit Verlag, Munster (Vols. I and II in 2001 and 2003)
  • 2002:  Arts Therapies and Progressive Illness, Brunner-Routledge, London and NY
  • 1999:  Treatment of Addiction (with Mahony, J) Routledge, London
  • 1998:  Towards a European Art Therapy – Creating a Profession, Open University Press, Buckingham
  • 1996:  Group Interactive Art Therapy: Its Use in Training and Treatment, Routledge
    (Currently preparing 2nd Edition)
  • 1992:  Art Therapy: A Handbook of New Theories and Practice (with Gilroy, A) Open University Press, reprinted and being revised.
  • 1991:  Becoming a Profession: History of Art Therapy in Britain. Routledge

Research Supervision

  • 3 completed PhDs (London and Imperial College) 8 PhD students currently supervised.
  • Areas: varied but mainly in psychological therapies theory and practice, intercultural issues in psychotherapy, relationship between traditional and complementary therapies, institutional issues (systems); introducing new elements into functioning systems.
  • University of Brighton – as Principal Research Fellow in Applied Social Sciences supervising professional doctorate and PhD students.

Research Interests

  • Diane's recent research, with Imperial College has been on evaluating group art therapy with people with long term schizophrenia. Project Matisse was funded by the Health Technology Assessment as a random control trial, conducted in 4 sites in the UK. The team is currently writing up and publishing our findings. In 2009 she proposed and helped to establish a new International Centre for Research in the Arts Therapies, based in the Centre for Mental Health at Imperial College. The Centre is designed to facilitate high level research in the arts therapies and related fields.
  • From 1996 to 2005 co-conducted a project over 9 years, funded by the Alzheimer's Society and the Health Foundation, using both quantitative and qualitative methodology, evaluating the impact of art therapy groups with older people with moderate to severe dementia. The third phase of the project (qualitative) identified a ‘Culture of Exclusion', leading to further exploration of the role that art therapy could play in modifying the culture of care homes.  Diane continued to reflect on the findings of the whole project through papers and presentations.
  • A further project involving people with early onset dementia in viewing and making art is being submitted for funding with support from Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.
  • As a member of the University of Brighton Age and Ageing Research group, Diane contributes to developing projects that are designed to improve mental health and wellbeing of older people.

Professional Affiliation(s)/Accreditation

  • Registered Art Psychotherapist, Health Professions
  • Council and member of Council; President British Association of Art Therapists
  • UKCP registrant, Psychodynamic Psychotherapy section
  • Vice President International Society for Psychopathology of Expression and Art Therapy
  • Chair, International Centre for Research in the Arts Therapies, Imperial College.


External examiner for universities of Sussex (2) Durham, Edinburgh, Queen Margaret, Hertfordshire, Birmingham (PhDs and one prof Doc Education)

Conference Papers Given

  • Problems of Looking: an exploration of the art of the other (2002) in Thomashoff, H (ed) Human Art Project: Art for Anti-Stigma, Schattauer, Stuttgart and NY.
  • Art Therapy Groups: An Interactive Approach (2003) In Malchiodi, C: Handbook of Art Therapy, Guilford Publications, NY and London (preparing 2nd edition).
  • Art Therapy: Its introduction in the UK and USA (2003) in Thomashoff, H-O and Sartorius, N. Art Against Stigma, Schattauer, Stuttgart and NY.
  • European Development of Psychotherapy: Problems of Identity (2005) In European Identity and Psychotherapy (Ed) Milenkovic, S. Jugoslav Union of Associations of Psychotherapy and Institute of Mental Health, Belgrade.
  • Art Therapy: How it leads to change (2006) In Jnl of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, Vol II (2) April, pp 271-282
  • A Multi-Centre Randomized control group trial on the use of art therapy with older people with dementia (with Rusted, J and Sheppard, L) in Group Analysis, Vol. 39 (4) December pp 517-536.
  • Dementia and the Process of Marginalisation (2007) In Hampe, R and Stalder, P (Eds) 
    Grensuberschreitungen: Bewusstseinswandel und Gusundheitshandeln, Frank & Timme, Berlin
  • The influence of culture on aesthetic preferences (2009) In Thomashoff, H-O and Sukhanova, E: The Person in Art, Nova Publishers, NY.
  • Art Therapy (2009) In Geldof, M.(ed) New Textbook of Psychiatry, Blackwells, Oxford.
  • Demence et processus d'exclusion. (2010) In Sudres, J-L, Exclusions et Art-Therapie, l'Harmattan, Paris.
  • Provision and Practice of Art Therapy for people with Schizophrenia: Results of a national Survey. With Patterson, Debate, Anju, Crawford in Journal of Mental Health, 18 Feb 2011.

Teaching & Course Development

Established the postgraduate training in Art Psychotherapy to MA level at Goldsmiths. Also the postgraduate Diploma in Group Psychotherapy and the MA in Group and Intercultural Therapy. Actively involved in developing postgraduate training in art psychotherapy throughout Europe.


External examiner for universities of Sussex (2) Durham, Edinburgh, Queen Margaret, Hertfordshire, Birmingham (PhDs and one prof Doc Education)