Thursday, March 10, 2005

Art Therapy Presentation Outline - II. Theoretical Components

II. Theoretical Components

A. Goals and Objectives

1. General Goal
a) To connect with the inner world of unconscious feelings. ( Allen, p 53)
2. Goals in an Institutional Setting (Shoemaker, p. 3 - 4)
a) To facilitate self-expression via active problem solving.
b) To focus energies toward creative, constructive activities, and away from destructive and self destructive behaviors.
c) To allow expressive opportunities to serve as catharsis, while challenging rigidified defenses and entrenched pathologies.
d) As an integrative experience utilizing emotive, kinesthetic and cognitive functioning.
e) Allow the patient to explore, through the reflection of himself in artwork, his choice of personal definitions, to receive personalized feedback, to help define personal problems.
f) Set the stage for the exploration of creative alternatives, solutions and conflict resolution.
3. For those who have "no hope of getting better"(severe mental handicaps, psychogeriatricts, long term institutionalized etc.) (Dalley, 1984)
a) provide enjoyment, exploration and stimulation- probably their only outlet for individual expression, stimulation & creative occupation. (Dalley, 1984)

B. Client/Therapist Relationship
1. Relationship
a) Rogers (1976) suggested a client centered approach to psychotherapy. He suggested that there are 3 important factors that are essential to the therapeutic progress: warmth, empathy, genuineness.
b) Transference occurs in art therapy when strong feelings arise between the therapist and the client, though much effort is made to keep art production as the focus of the association. (Dalley, 1984)
2. Client's Role
a) Understands that their works of art may be psychologically picked apart. (Laing 1974:17) This understanding does affect the production of art. (Cunningham-Dax, 1953)
b) Active participation and cooperation from the client is an important part of art therapy in order for an art therapist to initiate an interpretation of a piece of art. (Dalley, 1984)
i) A client demonstrates progress by expressing verbally what is represented in the art form. (Birtchnell)
ii) The client moves talking about their art and what it represents into taking action. (Birtchnell)
3. Therapist's Role
a) Art-in-therapy - the therapist acts as interpreter. (Kahn, ¶ 5)
b) Art-as-therapy - the counselor is a facilitator. (Kahn, ¶ 5)
c) A therapist should use the art as the focal point in therapy which should involve talking about and talking to the art content. (Birtchnell)

C. Concepts and Beliefs
1. Beliefs of Man
a) It relies on the psychoanalytical notion that man is driven by unconscious desires. (Kahn, ¶ 4)
b) "The process of art therapy is based on the recognition that man’s most fundamental thoughts and feelings, derived from the unconscious, reach expression in images rather than words" (Naumberg 1958: 511)
2. Terms
a) Freud: "secondary processes" (verbal, rational, analytic modes of thought) and "primary processes" (imaginative, symbolic, non-verbal modes).
b) "A therapeutic procedure is one designed to assist favourable changes in personality or in living that will outlast the session itself" (Ulman, 1961:19)
c) Witnessing - the client showing their art to someone who is accepting to validate the client's images. (Allen, p 87, 108-110)
d) Honoring the resistance - explore the fears and what they are protecting, but don't push or rush understanding of them. (Allen, p 63 & 75)

3. Main Concepts
a) Art in therapy combines both conscious and unconscious expression through concrete activity. (Ulman, 1961:19)
b) "The process of art therapy is based on the recognition that man’s most fundamental thoughts and feelings, derived from the unconscious, reach expression in images rather than words" (Naumberg 1958: 511)
c) In the creative act, conflict is re-experienced, resolved and integrated (Kramer 1958:6)
i) Stern 1952: Magic mastery through pictorial presentation is a regression to the identical stage of adaptation to reality in which the original traumata, now pressing for reparation, occurred; in most cases to the preverbal phase. The technique used in therapeutic painting is on a level with thinking and of expression, it is on the same plane as the unconscious thought itself."
d) Laing 1974:17: "every original art production by the patient is in some degree an aspect of that person. No-one else can create the same result on paper or canvas. Art therapy offers an area where the patient can proclaim his identity and it offers an atmosphere where he can be himself… Art offers a medium which can give both communication with others and confrontation with the self."
e) "The blocking of energy and various limitations to available energy for problem solving are important observations available to the art therapist." (Shoemaker, p 17)
f) Images can have both personal and archetypal meanings. (Allen, p.103-105)
g) Fear distorts the images.
i) the distortions within images become less as the fear is dealt with.
(Allen, p 197)
ii) Sexually abuse children will often distort genitals and other areas of
abuse in their drawings. (Riordan, ¶ 10)
h) Images are patterns - people tend to repeat certain life scenes. They need to understand the familiar patterns and images before they can create new ones. (Allen, p 198)
i) "Art is an expressive, nonverbal format that discloses a child's inner reality." (Riordan, ¶ 6)
j) Melanie Klein, an Object Relations theorist, suggested that art therapy can be used for a client to progress through stages of development.

4. Basic Principles
a) Art is a concrete object that is visually presented for everyone to see. (Birtchnell 1984)
b) Art in therapy is created for a specific reason, and for specific people. John Birtchnell (1984) suggested that "the destructibility is an important quality: Sometimes the actual destroying of a picture and the way it is destroyed can be a positive component of therapy."
c) Art can represent and recreate something, someone, or an event from the past. (Birtchnell 1984)
d) Art can safely represent something that causes the client fear. (Birtchnell 1984)
e) Art allows the client to fantasize about actions that they are not allowed to enact in reality. John Birtchnell (1984) suggested that "accepting and owning the less acceptable aspects of oneself means that less energy is spent denying their existence."
f) Art provides an outlet for activities that the client may deem bizarre . (Birtchnell 1984)
g) Art is a metaphor. (Birtchnell 1984)
h) Art may represent the past, present or the future. (Birtchnell 1984)
g) Artwork should be dated and sequenced to be able to see the progression within the client's work and any patterns that may emerge over time. (Fincher, p. 27)

5. What Art Therapy is Not: (Dalley, 1984)
a) Not only for potential artists or those with natural talent in the subject. Majority of patients who are treated successfully have neither drawn nor painted before.
b) Art therapists are not teachers.
c) Art therapy is not a form of occupational therapy.
d) Art therapy is not a diagnosis through art. Clinical assessments made by taking an overall account of art work and how it has developed and changed during course of therapy.

No comments: