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Alternative Complimentary Therapies

Chapter 3 Part 3

The previous chapter acknowledges the importance of the clients involvement and also stresses the significance of the therapist and the experiences they provide for the individual. Warren (1993) highlights the experiences provided by the therapist and discusses what is needed for them to be successful. He identifies the art therapist as requiring the knowledge, understanding of concepts, ideas and techniques and the ability to make them accessible to the client to facilitate the creative process. The art materials should not be bias, there needs to be a wide variety to account for individual differences. Some clients may feel uneasy working with a particular type of medium thus, their needs and abilities have to be considered.

Alongside the technical practicality of the therapist role is also the emotional support that was addressed by Ball (2002). Dalley (1984, p176) reiterates this by stating, "... the resident/therapist relationship is important in providing the support and encouragement necessary to make the initial steps into picture-making."

Case and Dalley (1992, p65) acknowledge the importance of the relationship between the client, therapist and the significance of this on their artwork. "..- much of the imagery produced in art therapy is a raw expression of unconscious material which only surfaces to consciousness after many weeks when connections can be made and understanding takes place."

The components that make up the creative process, including, the relationship between the client and the therapist and the artwork produced, identifies the importance of the art therapist. Without them the individual attending to their artwork alone would not get maximum benefits. It is the creative process that helps make changes for the individual. Spaniol (2001, p222) addresses this importance of the creative process by stating, "Most art therapist also regard the creative process itself as having the power to heal."

The therapist needs to be aware of their own self, in particular knowledge of their own strengths and weaknesses. This is important in order to discover their vulnerabilities in an appropriate environment so they do not bring it into therapy with their client where the patient may be effected. This was identified in the previous chapter as
counter-transference. Case and Dalley (1992, p65) reiterate the importance of the therapist being able to control their own feelings by confirming, "The therapist's role is to remain open to the imagery and all its potential meaning for the patient and contain the anxiety and feelings that are generated in attempting to understand it." The therapist will attend supervision groups, here they will engage in therapy themselves. They will be encouraged to talk through their experiences and how they feel with regards to particular therapy sessions and clients. Confidentiality will be maintained throughout these sessions. This supervision helps the therapist remain professional and competent.

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