S3  - Thinking about cutting up, cutting out and sticking down.

Abstract for TAoAT 2002 by Caroline Case

In this paper the different processes of cutting up, cutting out, and sticking down will be discussed in relation to children in therapy. This will be a paper about the process of working and how our observations of that process can help us think about the states of mind of the children whom we are working. I will also be thinking about the finished pieces of work but all the examples are from children who were hard to reach and who had difficulties in communicating their thoughts and feelings. In this situation the struggle with different feelings is very much in the process of art therapy until a relationship is more established.

The paper will be discussing clinical material from children who have been traumatised in the past, either emotionally and/or sexually abused; from children using autistic defences; and from children with selective mutism. I will be thinking about being cut up and in pieces, and being cut off psychologically. However, cutting out has a different connotation, as in defined, bringing some definition. It can be an important process for children struggling with separation difficulties. Lastly, I will consider cutting out and sticking down in two different contexts. The first with a child with autistic defences, where images of mother and child were defiantly stuck together- there will be no separation! The second, from a boy with delinquent behaviour, where cutting out and sticking down enabled the creation of an inner world of softer feeling.

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