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Title: Art therapy : a developmental narrative : from symptom and theory to cultural paradigms
Author: Byrne, Peter
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2002
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Art therapy’s complex knowledge base has accumulated over 60 years via the interweaving of concepts and ideas originating in the fields of art and aesthetics, psychology and psychiatry, education and sociology. Its theorists and practitioners have followed differing plans in its construction. Explanatory taxonomies organising this array of ideas have generally been based on psychotherapeutic theories (Freudian, Jungian, Rogerian, Winnicottian etc.) - or on the symptoms of client populations (Art therapy with: children, HIV/Aids victims, disability etc.). These taxonomies create problems for art therapists required to produce ‘evidence’ required for evidence based practice. Following a deconstruction of the prevailing taxonomies a re-construction of central ideas and practices in terms of ‘cultural paradigms’ is presented. Each of these ‘paradigms’, seven of which will be identified, incorporated two ‘common denominators’ - ‘art’ and ‘therapy’ - embedded within a particular (socially constructed) realm of discourse, of ‘culture’. The paradigms are: art, therapy and the spiritual; art, therapy and the magical; art, therapy and the moral; art, therapy and the educational; art, therapy and the psychological; art, therapy and (aspects of ) the sociological; art, therapy and (aspects of ) the philosophical. A developmental narratives traces the evolution of these base components from origins in the nineteenth century and earlier. Through their presentation in a (historical), socio-cultural trajectory - from pre-modernism, through modernism, to postmodernism - it will be argued that art therapy is quintessentially ‘modernist’ as a profession. It exploits the modern democratisation of the art-making process; as well it endorses therapeutic aims such as self-realisation, self-expression, etc., characteristic of modern individualism. The first two cultural paradigms originate in the pre-modern period of proto-art therapy, the next three belong to its consolidation as a discipline within modernism proper and the last two are still being formed within the post-modern period. The re-organisation of the fabric of art therapy theory will enable researchers to analyse each of the cultural paradigms separately in terms of its particular historical significance, its internal coherence, its claims to effectiveness, its relationships to the other paradigms and to other related disciplines.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available