Book Club


Chapter 1-4 Art therapy David Edwards

I found these chapters difficult to read there was a lot of information that i found difficult to process a lot of terms and words that where new to me. These chapters are about the development of art therapy and some of the main people involved in the life stages of the profession.

what i need to do a list of terms new to me what they mean and what i understand from them. Do a little art therapy history timeline Adrian hill up to today and key developments just to have an overview.

Page 55

“it is in playing and only in playing that the individual child or adult is able to be creative and to use the whole personality and it is only in being creative that the individual discovers the self (1989: 63) Winnicott

this stood out to be as in my workshop it is the playing and messing with art materials that my residents remember and seem to relate to maybe this is why they enjoy Eco printing as this is playing with nature and we never know what we will get.

Chapter 5-7 Art therapy David Edwards

i found these chapters easier to read and made the list of keys words that were suggested last week it made more sense as the content did not seem as abstract as we have already spoke about some of the content and already know that we have to work to HCPC standards out of this whole book i find the case studies rather interesting.

Page 73 photo 5.1 studio

this is not what i would have thought an art therapy studio to look like its busy there is clutter there are a lot of work on the walk is that 1 persons work or many is it up there all the time if so should this not influence there person having therapy is it confidential it looks to be a classroom it doesn’t have any flow or to be visual pleasing at all what other materials has he used is there a sink nearby.

What could he have done differently

he could of used props to change the look of the room and give it a warmer welcoming feel, taken down all the artwork. dress the room to feel safe and secure as the minute it feels like a room that has many purposes a bit of an empty atmosphere.

Case study on finger painting page 82-84

why exclude the person should we not be helping groups except that we are all different and all have bad days how did that make that person feel was his behavior an expression of something he can talk about so could out in his behavior does he need 1-1 session to work on this before he joins a group. Why tell the group was it a threat if you don’t behave you get kicked out is this really a good way to work with group dynamics. Why finger painting for teenagers/ young people it feels a little childish these people are trying to work out how adult life works and he is bringing them back to things they may have experienced in primary school. Could he not have set the task i want you to paint but not use a paint brush is get them to think outside the box and come up with there own way giving them ownership of the task having to think of the whole process having to work out how to start with a bunch of items on table and create something this would still give a feeling of patients using the thinking process and experimenting it can be achieved at any level. you could still bring them together to make a group piece.

I found the group management interesting as this is definitely not how i would go about this with any groups i have had in paddle sport i feel this was a negative activity and taken from a different angle and task could have been a positive outcome for each person to learn about themselves.

Chapter 4

I feel this chapter was about getting the read to be empathetic to the client it was trying to shoe that they are people just like everyone else but they feel lonely and isolated that there id not a different way to work with long term clients the pace of the sessions may just be slower have to be careful to mange a clients dependency on the therapist

What do client need: –

  • Safe place
  • Safe presence
  • Orderly and warm
  • Made to feel welcome
  • Feel safely contained

The therapist needs to provide a simple caring nature and containment in a confidential space and be the gate keeper to make sure that therapeutic boundaries of time and place are met.

Art therapy is for everyone BATT have done a lot of work to make sure art therapy is provided for people that don’t fit the normal criteria for psychotherapy.

The chapter says many times that art therapist don’t spot any different approach’s towards people that are chronic long term psychiatric client than they would anyone else I think that is good as it shows that art can reach anyone who is willing and can be aimed at any ability and they will feel the benefits of doing it.

The chapter speaks about interpreting people work I agree with Martina Thomson that it is not needed and feel that that is us putting our assumptions on that persons work that the therapist needs to speak clear easy understood language that makes the client feel like a human and listened

Art therapy is about a careful approach that has an emphasis on the therapist objective of enjoyment exploration and stimulation.

Art therapy is person centered and is altered to suit the needs of the client

When doing an client history you are finding out why they have come what they see there difficulties are etc but you could also find out there history as an artist what sparks them what moves them.

The case study on Ruth is very interesting as she and the therapist had worked through many ups and downs and through that sounds like they have built a strong relationship that the therapy room was a safe place for her to safely express herself without harm to her or others.

Chapter 8

Kandinsky definition of art based on it being an outer expression of an inward need.

When we talk about ending art therapy in class we have not spoke yet about beginning and ending a session ending a session for the client to be prepared to go back out the door to normal life

This chapter is looking at children and adults it speaks about children having the need to perform/ seek rituals in a safe contained environment that helps them feel they can work on there feeling this may present in the form of secrets, codes, mess and guilt their art work will show how they are trapped in a painfully vow of silence that art therapy helps the child.

Again and again it comes up containment and boundaries are they not the same thing you need boundaries to help the client know where they stand to feel safe, is that not containing? Rabzger stresses the importance of firm boundaries and structure together with encouragement for self-expression and choice. In this context they are talking about clients with learning disabilities but is this not the same for everyone

Over all it is about the relationship between the client and the art materials and the process of making art and the relationship between the client and therapist this triangle is the formula for art therapy and all areas need developed and worked on for the client to feel secure and safe to express them selves consciously or unconsciously.

The therapist task is to help the client explore create and play all in the presence of the therapist as this will develop the relationship. The therapist is to always be the facilitator and to express accurate empathy the relationship is to always be a psycho therapeutic interaction the therapist is not there to answer question but to explore with the client what these questions mean and why

I need to remember that it is O.K to have silence in the therapy session.

Chapter 5

This chapter talks about working with elderly people I agree that an art therapist will need to have a high level of empathy and respect for these clients as there life experiences are going to be very different from today’s society that they have experienced a lot in their lives and some events may have been out of there control they may have started to work through these or these events may still be quite raw for them this could included the loss of a partner of there home of their independence


the art therapist needs to make sure that the sessions are person centred and meet the needs of the client it is essential for these types of clients to be warm caring respectful this is also very important to building a therapeutic relationship with them the therapist needs to make sure they are giving their full attention to the client (tho these are all aspects that we should show to all clients)


Most elderly people feel especially those that now need care who where once independent that are used to making their own decisions and just getting up and doing it feel a sense of loss they have lost their identity, their independence, there role in life,  lost their partner, feel isolated, feel worthless like a burden they may have regrets of things they did or didn’t do. No matter the person these are strong feelings and each experience and express these differently so each person needs to held in a safe space where they can work through these feels be given a sense of worth again be able to make there own choices maybe find a new meaning maybe work through a pasted event.


things to be mindful of is making sure that the art that you ask the person to do is achievable that you help the person to work through their expectations of what there art should be these clients may have a degenerate condition and may not get better but slowly become worse you do not want the person to feel ashamed about there decrease in ability. The client should have a positive mark making outcome so that they feel empowered to do more work and thus help themselves which will develop a sense of ownership of their own life again.


the therapist needs to make sure that the space they have no matter where it is can positively hold and benefit the client that there is nothing that can devalue the persons work that as well as respect for the person that there is respect for there art work. maybe drawing or paint might not be the best material for a person that now has a tremor and struggles to make there body go where they want but maybe college could work another idea is touch drawing this uses movements with the body but does not ask for detail wet on wet watercolor painting eco printing clay work.


reminiscence therapy is  when a person is reminded about events in there life this is now a days used with elderly people there are pros and cons you may bring up happy memories bt may make the person realise how much they have lost you may bring up memories of a bad memory you need to be aware of now to deal with people memories and the strong deep emotions that could come with it. This therapy in my opinion should be lead by the client ther therapist needs to hold and support the person and be ready to catch them if it get too much actually the therapist needs to step in before it’s to much letting the person drown in a strong emotion is not good for them and may scare them that they do not attend again.


The role that the therapist may need to adopt in this  with most definitely involve transference and countertransference the client can expect you to switch roles according to the event or memory that is evoked the client may be consciously or unconsciously and the medium are art can help dilute this but the therapist still needs to be aware of the clients reaction and understand why the person maybe acting is such a way. Elderly people find it very hard to express their feelings and may not even know why they are feeling a certain way they will need reassurance that it is ok to feel this way and that it is normal and is understandable.


When working with elderly clients you need to have a strong relationship with the client this will make there feel good about themselves some may crave this as it may been a long time they may experience a feeling of loneliness and isolation as they have few friends maybe no relatives or little contact they feel rejected. They may not see the point in art therapy but even just being with a person and making some marks could be a huge thing for some client.


what would an art therapist aim be when working with elderly people well it would be to help a client develop their self esteem again to value themselves better respect themselves and where they are at show them they are usefulness and that they can have a good relationship that they can express their individuality and this is expected respected and valued that they do have a choice and a voice. That someone is interested in them and what they have to say. That there therapy space is for them and they can take ownership of it


The art is important but will not work with this client group if there is not a connection with the therapist that the client therapist relationship is just as strong as the art client relationship.


The art can be a good communication tool to help a client express how they feel sometimes without the knowing. art materials and art work no matter when it is can be a link to communication between the client and the therapist which will be visible.


Need to remember that when doing group work that the therapist primary goal will be to make sure that each individual’s needs are met in the group dynamic. That when taking a session in needs to be constant same room time so that is become familiar


In the case study page 100 Mrs G has alzheimer’s disease so her world is jumbled and has problems connecting things but her senses of touch is still strong and in now her main way of being able to connect with the world a way to centre herself to experience the world around her and helped her make a connection to apples and some of her memories in this case the therapist was showing how the fundamental relationship in creating a process where the client can begin to establish a senses for there surrounding and to other people.


so in short having a good understanding of the client and there background can help the therapist to understand how the person is acting and hopefully lead the therapist that having a good range of art materials and methods that are versatile so that you can meet the needs of each person that you work with and know that each person is different and will have experienced the world differently so you need to leave your assumption and judgement at the door.


Chapter 6

I hate the word retarded i do not agree with it and it annoyed me everytime i read it in this chapter I know this book is off the era that it was a clinical term and is now known as learning disability


Hmm this chapter it was hard to read maybe because this is my background and see my clients differently to what is described maybe it’s because i have spent a lot of time trying to understand how each of my clients view the world.


behaviour is a reaction to a feeling sensation or environmental factor most of the time challenging behaviours is a last resort to express a feeling we need to understand a person before we jump to conclusions. we need to develop a form of communication that the person can express them self before having to challenging. what Bowlby says on page 112 about how feeling is rather a phase in a physiological process that it will reach a phase of being felt that emotions have a function in communication with others and with oneself makes sense to me as people want to be listen to they want to be recognized and understood this is what all of humanity wants in some shape or form.


No matter who you client is and the ability you need to have an understanding of them you need to build up a relationship you need to develop a line of communication you need to make your client can use the materials you are presenting them with you need to have empathy. I feel that art is very important with clients that have intellectual disabilities as it gives a new dimension for them to express themselves and find someone that understands them. everyone can express themselves just all in different ways. You do as with any other client set boundaries hold a space space and be present I find that with this client group that transference can be powerful. Doing art can show you a window into that clients inner world that it is the process of making art that is important


I do not see the need to analyze the clients work that it is only one part it needs to be person centred what mood where they in what was there posture what did they do while making the art how did they hold the material what noises were made what words were said when someone expresses themselves they will use their whole body did they have tear in there eye is his just the way they present themselves a piece of artwork is not much to go on without looking at the whole person. Why do i feel this way well because when we analise work are we not putting our aesthetic prejudices onto the art work of what we think it is and isn’t he only person that can analyze one’s work is the creator themselves.  Bowlby speak of how we convey our emotions in different movement to show how we feel non verbally we all as humans do this.


The case study of Alfred was interesting and showed how you need to get to know your client and build up a way of communication and understanding yes on the way you get it wrong but then you learn what is right for that client and what they want. I wondered while reading this that the nursing staff did not give the therapist a quick risk assessment of the holding hands is a sign of things not being good. I was happy to read that she had worked out just upset body language. it occurred to me that his hearing sense was quite strong and may did his lines change according to the sounds he heard if that was the case could she have explored how his work changed with music maybe he needs a stimulant to help him move and paint in different ways maybe it is him reacting to the environment around him i come this this as at different times she speaks about him listening to people rain etc it was very clear that Alfred did not get any satisfaction from the finished work and that it was the process of doing the painting that he enjoyed i just wonder if he liked water so much could this have been a sensory that could have been added water colour mixed coloured water marbling bubble art or was the moving paint around the page and mix enough for him.



Chapter 5 

I found the story about Kyle quite shocking, about him burning her and impressed with her reaction at the same time. Her way of thinking of what its meaning was and herself reflection of how she was feeling is how her client was feeling. I quite like the task given to her student of writing about a client but the different ways of observing them to see the person using music, drama, art, dance performance, listening and observing and kinaesthetic visual art.

It is an interesting way to think about observation and to hone in your observational skills, to see the whole of the person. I’d like to give this task a go, as I got a sense that you got the whole person and a much nicer way to see the client, rather than the clinical notes were used to seeing. These can be person notes about the client for myself but not for use as clinical notes.

It is comforting to read that Cathy at times feel ill equipped in certain situations and she questions if what she is seeing and hearing is the clients experience or what she thinks it is that the client is saying, I have a feeling this will be experienced by me in my placement as well.

I like the idea of viewing a client from an artistic perspective, as we can get consumed in a persons diagnosis and get so focus on this we only see the diagnosis, which is not beneficial to the client of the therapeutic relationship. I think its good for me a trainee AT to wonder and doubt and question what I am doing as this is part of reflective practice.

I find it amazing that she can pick out the theme and phrases from conversations she had and is able to tie them together and wok out the meaning underlying, how am I going to do that?

So I got the chance to read referral forms in placement, I find it difficult as it is just a list. You don’t know anything about the person only the diagnosis they have been given, you don’t know the stories about their suicide attempts or what drove them to this, you don’t know anything about their life. I find it interesting that she sees the client and the AT as an expert the client being an expert of themselves and the AT an expert in artistic expression. These 2-expertise come together to develop the therapeutic relation and co-create to work through the client’s problems, and that she sees these interactions as pieces of art.

I have struggled with the idea of what to give a client, how do I work out in the first meeting what I’m giving the client to do the following week. There is a huge thought process to go into this where she weights the pros and cons where she used the collected information from artistically observing the client, she even goes as far to thinking about where to place materials and how easy or not so easy to reach and this is individual for each client. I wonder how many times she got it wrong before getting it right.

At tentative listening to listening and disciplined observations of the client behaviors and that we don’t react to these but instead we respond to these. Interesting way of thinking about it as the wrong reaction will potentially damage the therapeutic relationship which always means calm and collected, responding in a manner that is healthy and beneficial for the client.

I will be trying her exercise of observing and listening to a client listening to their stories marking moods, behaviors, and actions. To get a whole picture of the client over the place of session, I hope I have time to reflect on these and to make a more informed decision on where to lead my clients.

I also need to be aware of not mixing what my preference is to suit the client, I need to expand my knowledge and push myself out of the box to help the client as for me to be comfortable and not challenge my practice may suit the open client and not another. I will only know how to do this through reflective practice.

Overall, I found this very informative and it has given me a lot to think about working with a client and not all information that will be taken will be verbal. It may be in the form of a story or a metaphor and I will need to use all tools available to me to get a full picture of the client ad this may take a while to develop.

Chapter 6 review

The chapter started off with the case study about Derek and his mother. I find it interesting in how this case the Art therapist manages to stay so impartial to the situation and Derek’s behavior only speaking to him in the same tone. All the while analyzing the emotions of Derek through his artwork and his reactions to things such as when he said that it was no bother that his mother was going away for Christmas when it was clear that this was clearly affecting him deep down.

I also noted how the Art therapist had noted his work as she was disappointed in it as she knows he is capable of much better and more, regardless she keeps this piece and reflects on it regularly as she stated she cannot come to throw this out, as she sees it symbolizing his “mangled” heart.

I wonder during my sessions what I will see in my client’s artworks that may be along these lines of emotional trauma and how it will affect me as much as it will the clients. What will be my “heart” that I constantly reflect on?

Throughout the chapter, I had to keep trying to differentiate between the Aesthetic theories to make sure I understood them in either reactive models or adaptive models. I agreed somewhat with the quote from Knill, Barba & Fuchs in relation to some theorists approach to completely ignore the aesthetic areas of the client work as “wasting one of our most valuable talents for engaging in healing power of the arts&  for reaching depth in the psychotherapeutic relationship but I believe that while this is indeed important as stated I believe that the relational model suits me more.

While this is the case Cattaneo (1994) warns us that we cannot apply OUR view of beauty onto a clients work when analyzing it as we all have different tasted (culturally, personally) and so do so would undermine our appraisal of the clients work.

Personally, we all like and dislike things to see what I believe to be a beautiful painting in the museum many others could easily disagree with this. I will have to keep this point in mind when looking at clients work and approach with a neutral appraisal instead focussing on why and what the client is trying to portray. This, in turn, ties in with my favor to the relational aesthetic model and why I preferred it.

I found Tina’s story very intriguing and sad at the same time, I think that the exercise set by the Art therapist is a fantastic way to get other people’s open opinions on their work, the exercise of writing down the words and emotions that people feel is a good way to engage the group.

I liked the idea that even the art therapist was still trying to look at Tina’s work and analysis it, upon hearing the readout buzz words something clicked in her mind. Even though a simple drawing it conveyed so much about her and it was a cry for help, showing frustration and boundaries being broken.

I hope on this situation I have the know-how and knowledge base to spot this as noted in the chapter and see the underlying issues and look past the aesthetic model of just what’s in front of me and look deeper.

In the therapeutic environment however it is as much the journey of the artwork as well as the aesthetics of the finished piece.  I like to believe that my philosophy is the same as mentioned many times during the chapter as the art based practice is inclusive to the client, based in a relationship of care and understanding, trying to capture the “beauty” concept with an overall grounding in a concern for quality in the relationships between me and my clients.

Working from a relational aesthetic provided the groundwork for the use of art and art making, I believe this also keep at the center of this the therapeutic relationship which I believe is to be Key in the session which is separated from the other models.

I believe that this approach values the art of the client based on its ability as a reflection of themselves and helps deepen relations to themselves, the artwork and other people in the environment.

Chapter 8

Role of the Therapist as an Artist

This chapter is questioning should an art therapist use or do art alongside a client or do their art with a client, it brings up several different questions and analyse them. The chapter speaks about different scenarios where you would possibly do or do not artwork with clients.

I do agree that it is necessary to do some artwork with some clients as I see it as a form of communication such as both drawing on the same page to communicate. Reacting to what the pervious person has drawn, working with a client to co-create a piece of artwork with the client being the one in control. It really comes down to the situation the client and what feels right, but this is artwork that I’m talking about that is related to the client in some way and not my own artwork.

I don’t think it is appropriate for an AT to do their own personal artwork in a session with a client as from my own personal experience I tend to zone out of my surroundings and zone into my artwork which would not be beneficial to the client and probably damaging to the Therapeutic relationship that I am trying to build.

If I were to do artwork with a  client I feel I would need to be very attuned to the client and sensitive to their needs and be very well rooted in what I would like to achieve?, am I just stepping in because something is taking too long? can I just not handle them struggling do I really need to intervene?

I do like the point of using art making to mirror a client of the way they use the media, styles, themes. This could possible be a good way to understand a client more. The case study of Copying the lady and the therapist getting muscle ache is quite an insight of what the client personally experiences, BUT, I do not think I would do this in front of the client as I would not want them to think I was mocking them or offending them.

Maybe this could be carried out during the reflective part after session and thus take this information into their next session.

Chapter 9

Communicating with others about the work we do

“Art therapy practice must be based on a deep respect for and faith in the value of the non-verbal characteristics through art” pg. 241

When engaging with a client around their work try to avoid asking questions, use statements of I wonder…. Or use comments making note of certain aspects of their work that stirs their curiosity’s. Or take interest of the artwork without trying to draw information, be honest with the artwork.

Statements of wonder, curiosity and interest using simple descriptive words or phrases about the image to inspire the client’s imaginative engagement. Try to use open ended statements to engages client imagination to help deepen the relationship between client and artwork.

I need to remember to pay attention to the words I use, how I deliver them with tone of voice, level, facial and body expressions, pace, rhythm, silence and timing. Need to think about how the client will perceive all of these. I think I may benefit from creative writing class or do some poetry.

  • Naming our own experience is a critical aspect of developing ourselves as professionals.
  • Reporting AT in a language congruent with the practices important as we are accountable to represent accurately the client whom we serve, it is our responsibility to portray the client and experiences In art therapy, respectively, empathetically and as accurate as possible.
  • Developing a congruent language for reporting.

Developing a congruent language.

  • Expose yourself to poetic language.
  • Read a novel
  • Attend a play
  • Jot down words and phrases you find interesting.
  • Fall in love with how words sound and how they go together.

How things are done

  • Use clients own words to describe the experiences
  • Use descriptive words and phrases
  • Use professional languages in the work place
  • When viewing a clients work leave a few moments of silent reflection to allow the artwork to speak for itself.
  • Describe what occurs in a session rather than interoperate.
  • Remember to ask other AT.
  • It is not our jobs to speak for the clients, its our job to allow the client to speak through us.

So this chapter was about the many different forms of communication we can use as AT, to think outside of the box, to learn, challenge, reflect on how we communicate the experiences of art therapy effectively. Each AT needs to play experiment and explore the different forms and make it their own, but still stay true to authentic AT views.