L2 - Making Art Therapy Visible

Abstract for TAoAT 2002 by Chris Wood

Possibly as art therapists we have not been fully aware of the extent of the scepticism about offering therapy to people with serious mental disorders. For example, a comment in the NHS Psychotherapy Services in England: Review of Strategic Policy in England ‘Art therapists work with some patients other psychotherapists would not consider taking on’ (Parry and Richardson, 1996, p. 107) could be read as implying something about the folly of art therapists in offering psychotherapeutic work to some clients. In the Roth and Fonagy book What Works for Whom? A Critical Review of Psychotherapy Research there is no mention of the work of art therapists with people with serious mental disorders even in the chapter on schizophrenia. Nevertheless unusual amongst those professionals taking a psychotherapeutic approach, art therapists have created a base for their practice within the public sector. The psychotherapeutic tenor of contemporary art therapy practice with this client group means however, that it has not been within a tradition of evidence for outcome (e.g., Killick, 1995; Killick & Greenwood, 1995; Wood, 1996; Killick & Schaverien, 1997). Consequently this presents the task of making visible in terms of outcome, the work already done by art therapists with the seriously mentally disordered. My paper will discuss what might be done to ensure that the knowledge born out of the discipline’s historical commitment to these clients is not lost to the development of future services.

References

  • Gilroy, A. and Lee, C. (1995) Art and Music: Therapy and Research. London and New York: Routledge.
  • Parry, G. and Richardson, A. (1996) NHS Psychotherapy Services in England: Review of Strategic Policy in England. NHS Executive: Department of Health.
  • Roth, A. and Fonagy, P. (1996) What Works for Whom: A Critical Review of Psychotherapy Research.  New York and London: The Guilford Press.
  • Killick, K. & Greenwood, H. (1995) ‘Research into Art Therapy with People who have Psychotic Illnesses’, in Gilroy and Lee eds., (1995), pp. 101-116.
  • Killick, K. & Schaverien, J. (1997) Art, Psychotherapy and Psychosis. London & New York: Routledge.
  • Killick, K. (1991) ‘The Practice of Art Therapy with Patients in Acute Psychotic States’, Inscape: The Journal of the British Association of Art Therapists  Winter: 2-6.
  • Killick, K. (1993) ‘Working with Psychotic Processes in Art Therapy’, Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy  7 (1): 25-36; reprinted in Ellwood ed., (1995), pp. 105-119.
  • Killick, K. (1997) ‘Unintegration and Containment in Acute Psychosis’, in Killick and Schaverien eds., (1997), pp. 38-51.
  • Wood, C. (1996) (1997b) ‘Facing Fear With People Who Have A History of Psychosis’, Inscape: The Journal of the British Association of Art Therapists  2 (2): 41-48.

Biography of Dr Chris Wood

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