Alternative Complimentary Therapies
Chapter 3 Part 2
They need to ask the patient first for their understanding
of their art. When discussing the importance of interpretation
of artwork by art therapists Champernowne (1971) as cited in
Dalley (1984, pxxi) reads,
Logical analysis and translation of pictured ideas into words
can be dangerous and destructive in the hands of inexperienced
therapists. This is why a good analysis for any therapist is
a great advantage. He should then know how not to interfere.
The art form has its own validity and to translate from one language
to another is bound to bring loss or error.
This danger of interpretation is highlighted by (Winnicott
1965 b : 59-60) as cited in Case and Dalley (1992, p68), "Magical
interpretations pre-empt the patient's separateness, he is robbed
of a mind of his own... The clues provided by the patient facilitate
the analyst's capacity to interpret..." The interpretation
of the art and the art process experienced by the patient is
mainly relevant to them because only they know the meanings behind
their work, even if it is unclear at first. However, the therapist
will see their progress, development and change and facilitate
their client in a way that will benefit their needs at that time.
Paintings of the self and other artwork can act as records of
this. The skills and effectiveness of therapist's are very important
in order for them to facilitate the clients development.
Self-figure drawings allow the therapist a means of gaining
insight and clues into the individuals way of thought and their
expression, particularly about themselves and how they perceive
the world. Warren (1993)
For the schizophrenic patient the therapist must have a clear
idea about the possible symptoms and experiences likely to occur.
This is important so the therapist does not confuse the individual's
personal traits with their illness.
The client's disclosure should be understood in terms of past
and present. The individual's self-portraits may be drawn with
one particular time and experience in mind and not necessarily
how they maybe feeling at that time.
Therefore, communication is of most importance in order for
there not to be a mistake made about the meanings placed on these
times and experiences. The therapist needs to give clear instructions
to the client and clarification should be used where it is needed.
A study carried out by Ball (2002) observed art therapy sessions
to try to understand the therapeutic processes that lead to change.
Identified in particular was the importance of the relationship
between the therapist and the client. Ball (2002, p91) comments
about the research, "This case showed that the mystery of
change centred mainly around the emotional aspect of the therapeutic
experience and the mutual influence of the therapist and client."
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