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Title: An investigation of the relationship between art and talk in art therapy groups
Author: Skaife, Sally Elizabeth
ISNI:       0000 0004 2692 958X
Awarding Body: City University
Current Institution: City, University of London
Date of Award: 2010
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This research explores a duality in art therapy: is art therapy about using art to help clients make therapeutic relationships or is it about therapeutic relationships facilitating a transformative process in art-making? In my experience art easily becomes subsumed by verbal interaction in art therapy groups in which there is reflection on interpersonal relationships. I contextualise my clinical experience by referring to the art therapy literature in which I identify four historical phases in the art/talk relationship: acknowledgment of a tension between art and talk; splits in types of practice resulting in tension becoming hidden in each; the sliding scale and recognition of creativity in polarity; and finally a celebration of diversity and plurality. Using a heuristic approach, reflexive writing and hermeneutic reflection, I have related texts from Continental Philosophy to my own clinical experience, to interviews and questionnaires previously given to members and the therapist of a colleague's art therapy group, and to the art therapy literature. The interrelated philosophical texts have sought to revise the way that art has been thought about in Western philosophy since Plato. I have analysed them with a view to re-visioning the ontological foundations of art therapy theory. Hierarchical divisions in the way that art is thought about are endemic to the development of the role of art in Western society, and thus reflected in art therapy theory. The philosophical works that I study challenge these divisions through the recognition of paradox. Understanding the hierarchical dilemmas that result from combining art and talk as mutative paradoxes presents a way of working with other hierarchies and for representation of voices that are suppressed. The outcome of this research has been to consider ways of working with tensions in the art/talk relationship in clinical practice and to develop a theoretical framework for art therapy which can be applied across all the client groups that art therapists work with. The aim has been to develop a unified identity for art therapy which resists splits which disadvantage clients, and fragment the profession.
Supervisor: Diamond, Nicola ; Pearmain, Rosalind Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Thesis - Psychotherapy