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Tell me more about…the Art Therapy

Wel­come again — David and the read­ers of the ATSH. Today briefly, but I hope to encour­age you to shower this site with, as always, some inter­est­ing comments.

I know, that ‘Art Ther­apy’ sub­ject is quite loaded with dif­fer­ent mean­ings and, prob­a­bly, not free from con­tro­ver­sies too. Yet, from what I can see brows­ing the rel­e­vant pages, this kind of psy­cho­log­i­cal (med­ical) ther­apy has flour­ished in the US, with AATA (Amer­i­can Art Ther­apy Asso­ci­a­tion) look­ing quite fit and professional.

At the same time it remains rel­a­tively exotic in Europe and espe­cially in Ire­land. My col­lege was first in this coun­try to intro­duce Art Ther­apy MA degrees (based on BA Hons. in Fine Art) — they are avail­able from 1998, became quite pop­u­lar, yet it’s still far from ordi­nary to see Art Ther­a­pist work­ing in insti­tu­tions, schools or hospitals.

I haven’t per­son­ally met yet with any sort of this prac­tice and know noth­ing about its fac­tual effec­tive­ness. I’m inter­ested espe­cially in any record, expe­ri­ence related to the ASD (Autism Spec­trum Dis­or­der), since one case of it has been diag­nosed in my fam­ily. Have you met with an art ther­apy “in action”? Are you your­self qual­i­fied and prac­tic­ing? Do you have any opin­ions, thoughts or expe­ri­ences on that sub­ject, on how it works (if at all) on autis­tic chil­dren? Thanks for sharing.

Posted in personal, the art world.

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2 Responses

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  1. David says

    My thoughts, for what they are worth”

    Since my “real job” some­times involves work­ing with peo­ple with severe psy­chi­atric dis­or­ders and—in many cases—terrible his­to­ries of abuse, I can say that I am of two minds regard­ing Art as a for­mal ther­a­peu­tic dis­ci­pline. I’m not aware of much empir­i­cal research in sup­port of Art Therapy.

    On the one hand, I believe in ther­a­peu­tic approaches that are evidence-based. That is, they are sup­ported by an exten­sive body of sci­en­tific research, pub­lished in well-recognized peer-reviewed jour­nals. On the other hand, I’ve worked with art ther­a­pists who do excel­lent work and some­times help to gain use­ful insights into the behav­ior of indi­vid­u­als who have severe psy­cho­log­i­cal prob­lems. It can there­fore func­tion as a use­ful adjunct to other, more empirically-validated approaches. I have never found Art Ther­apy (as opposed to mak­ing art) to be of much value for indi­vid­u­als with autism or other devel­op­men­tal disorders.

    As an artist, of course, I believe intu­itively in the power of art. As a pro­fes­sional, I’ve seen a lot of ther­a­pies that make intu­itive sense turn out to be hogwash.

  2. katarzyna says

    David, Thanks.



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