Types of art therapy in Britain

It is well known that there are many ways to practice art therapy, and there are important differences within and across countries. Britain in contrast to North America tends to privilege psychoanalytically informed  approaches as you will see below. The excerpt is taken from a recent article by Susan Hogan, a prominent art therapist who writes on history and gender related issues in art therapy. It is intended as a overview of the field in Britain, not a critique, nor does it attempt to point out some of the contradictions across various approaches.

Hogan, S. (June 2009). The art therapy continuum: A useful tool for envisaging the diversity of practice in British art therapy. International Journal of Art Therapy,(1), 29-37.

Art as an adjunct to verbal psychotherapy, including a ‘gestalt’ style of art therapy. (The
emphasis is not on the pictorial quality of the art work or analysis of its making, but more as a cue for verbal psychotherapy.)

Analytic art therapy: art therapy which has an emphasis on the ‘transference relationship’
between client and therapist. (This has been dubbed as ‘analytic’.)

The group-interactive approach art therapy which works with all aspects in a group ‘interactive’ approach: to the art work (including an analysis of the manner in which is produced), what the clients wish to say about it, and what clients say to each other and how they interact. This may include cognisance of ‘transference relationships’, but the latter is not the main emphasis.

Art therapy concentrated on the personal support of the individual in the group. This approach gives equal emphasis to the art work (including an analysis of the manner in which is produced), and what the clients wish to say about it, but does not attempt to work with group psychodynamics. This is sometimes called the ‘individual in the group’ approach.

Art therapy which has its emphasis on the production of the art work and verbal analysis of it (this may include an analysis of the manner in which it is produced: the materiality of the piece, emotions generated during different phases of production, the evolution of the art work). The work may be worked on over a period of time, rather than fresh art works being produced in each session.

Art therapy which privileges the art in art therapy with minimal verbal analysis the production of art works as a container for strong emotions, which are then assimilated by the client without verbal analysis. The art therapist provides a ‘holding’ environment, acts as a ‘witness’ to the process and may offer encouragement in the course of production. (p.19)

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Catégorisé dans Thérapie.

Publié le 09 oct 2009

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Un commentaire à Types of art therapy in Britain

  1. Anne Mills
    Le 10 oct 2009 à 05:41

    Thanks, Francine, for posting this interesting excerpt, and congratulations on your blog from the Douglas. I remember interning on the Behavior Therapy Unit years ago and using the excellent book Developmental Art Therapy by Williams and Woods to create a behavioral checklist for clients in art therapy.