Family Art Therapy: Foundations of Theory and Practice (Family Therapy and Counseling)

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Art Therapy. Family Therapy. Family Relations. WM F2 F ] RC F No matter how much I tried, my flowers always appeared wilted and my cars looked more like boats. As a graduate student I learned about projective techniques and was fascinated by watching people draw houses, trees, and persons. It became very clear just how each person would project himself or herself onto the paper.

I was very excited for this book to be completed. The integration of family therapy and art therapy can provide many advantages for the practicing therapist. The combination of art and traditional talk therapy provide for new avenues of understanding and intervention. Placed in a family context, this creates a venue for deep therapeutic intervention. The artwork not only communicates but also provides a projective assessment for the therapist to use in tailoring treatment. The visual record helps non- or less verbal family members participate. It allows the family members to reach the deeper levels of being that are only available through experiential understanding.

Restructuring communication patterns makes it possible to balance the family system in a healthy fashion. Resistance and defensiveness are frequently eliminated. I found this book to not only be a helpful professional text but to be a deeply personal statement about the contributors. The chapter authors share their skills and knowledge in both art and family therapy, along with vii RT The words and insights tell as much about the contributors as their ideas.

Multicultural Family Art Therapy

I applaud each of them for their effort in bringing this important therapy to a wider professional audience. Jon Carlson, Psy. The amalgamating process is viewed through case histories. This book sets the stage by reviewing art that portrays family life throughout the ages. It begins with the ancient Egyptians, continues through the various periods in history and concludes with the Western art of the twentieth century.

Foundation Sequence (9 credits)

These images reveal the state of the family and the roles various members play. Together, they create a picture of a mother and young child hugging each other. Thus, the importance of the art in family work is introduced. Although pictures of the past reveal important information, we are reminded that our clients today are also making metaphoric records of family life in the twenty-first century. Systems theory and family therapy are explored.

Descriptions of the early family therapists are all inclusive. Theoretical approaches are fully and clearly delineated; then each paradigm is incorporated into the family art therapy modality. A comprehensive history of family art therapy is included. The directives that each clinician uses during the initial stage of treatment is listed. It shows the similarities and differences in their evaluation styles. It was out of desperation that they grasped at anything they could think of at the moment.

It was late in the twentieth century that essential educational changes were made. Schools, especially those in states where licensure was south, instituted stringent family art therapy requirements. As a result a solid ix RT The American Art Therapy Association is also credited with important improvements in this regard.

Chapter 4: Bowen Family Systems Theory (BFST) and Family Art Therapy by Brittany Pagan on Prezi

The Conclusion in Family Art Therapy is unique. Each author contributed personal and reflective statements. In the process of creating this text, a remarkable bonding effect took place. A profound kinship was formed; one filled with support and caring.

Christine Kerr

I found this involvement unusual. As a coeditor for the book Adult Art Psychotherapy, there were no personal connections, except with my coeditor. Each author sent in a chapter and was engaged on a one-to-one basis. They never had the opportunity to meet as a group. I believe that is the usual method of putting a book together with a number of writers. My career as a family art psychotherapist has been gratifying and rewarding. I believe this is a testimony to the effectiveness of the family art therapy modality.

In my practice, parents seldom come requesting family therapy. The tendency is to view their child as the designated patient. When they are told the entire family will be treated together, they are surprised. Initially, they tend to be resistant. However, after the evaluation session I share my observations regarding their communication system. Family Art Therapy is an important book for all clinicians.

click here It contains information on an amazing number of family and family art therapists. The documentation is monumental and impressive. Writing styles are consistently excellent, clear, informative, and interesting. Long-time family art therapists will read this book and be reminded or may discover additional options for their family work.

It will be especially helpful to students and to the new generation of art therapists because it gives them a broad spectrum of choices to think about and to put into practice.

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I would like to express my sincere gratitude to those who have supported me in the overall writing of this book. First and foremost, I would like to thank Dr. Her wisdom and friendship have been inspirational. This committee of women, with their unique expertise, agreed to share their work, their clinical insights, and their energy.

Practice makes perfect: ACU Marriage and Family Therapy

Their unique and important contributions to this text have made this book rich and an important addition to the field of family art therapy. In closing, I would like to thank my husband, Gary T.


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We have been treating couples and families for some time now. We always treat these families together as cotherapists. Though we have very different personalities and therapeutic styles, we complement each other.


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Can you imagine after 30 years of marriage we as co-family therapists find the best in each other? We try to help families also find the best in each other and to heal.

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In many textbooks, the vast number of theoretical paradigms, as well as applied clinical vignettes, provide those who are interested in skills advancement with numerous resources. Within the field of traditional family therapy, there are extensive family therapy theories and depth within any one given schema. Various family models of traditional family therapy have evolved and become differentiated since the s, the classification of which continues to undergo change and reevaluation.

Classic family therapy theory can and is currently being integrated within art psychotherapy treatment. What is unique to the practice of clinical art psychotherapy is the use of action-oriented art processes that can work in tandem with traditional family therapy verbal dialoguing. Consequently, art interventions have the potential to parallel many of the theoretical paradigms of conventional family therapy.


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  • Much like traditional family therapy, family art therapy does not focus on the individual alone but treats the nuclear family, specific family dyads and often the family intergenerationally. The art therapist and the family therapy practitioner, both of whom work with families, should have an understanding of the variety of theoretical viewpoints and associative art interventions to interactively and integratively meet the affective and developmental needs of client families.

    As art therapy educators and authors in this book, we discussed the need for a comprehensive, updated family art therapy text. Noting that Helen Landgarten authored the seminal family art therapy text in , we concluded that a restructured family art therapy text could draw together an overview of classic and postmodern theories with applied art techniques. Other books that have been written on family art therapy after this date have either focused on specific client populations or have integrated limited family therapy theory with the art therapy process.

    It is important to note that many of the theoretical constructs found in art therapy were largely psychoanalytical. However, as systems theory emerged within the larger field of psychology and social work, art therapy educaxiii RT A paradigmatic shift from traditional art therapy approaches to a systemic, cybernetic approach in education and clinical practice began to surface. Out of this paradigm shift emerged those practitioners trained in art and actionoriented nonverbal processes that began to clinically incorporate the use of art in therapy with couples and families.

    Unlike other introductory texts in family art therapy, this edition hopes to not only summarize where and how this field has developed over the past 25 years Kwiatkowska, , but also to present where the field of family art therapy is going. As the field broadens and is more inclusive of disparate theoretical points of view, so should the family art therapist be able to develop a breadth of knowledge that incorporates classic family therapy theory with postmodern approaches. What are the potential benefits of family art therapy?

    The art process offers a variety of meaningful experiences for families in treatment. It has been stated many times by those in the field of art therapy, that art interventions can reduce defensiveness and may unlock deeper levels of experiential understanding for both individuals and families in treatment Landgarten, ; Linesch, ; Riley, ; Rubin, ; Wadeson, Family problems are often tenacious and resistive to change because they are embedded in powerful but unseen structures. Additionally, the art process may allow the possibility for family members to articulate emotions and thoughts through a visual means, which unlike verbal dialogue allows individual self-expression to be made permanent through the art product.

    Families seeking treatment are often entrenched in failure and impotence Linesch, Noting that the process of making art is by definition a creative and potentially an energizing endeavor, art making promotes not only needed energy for the family but may allow the family to experience a sense of accomplishment as they engage in art making.

    For this reason, the process of creative art making can be liberating and highly proscriptive. In family therapy, attempts at genuine dialogue between: a husbands and wives; b mothers, daughters, and sons; c fathers, daughters, and sons; d brothers and sisters; and e extended family members are often plagued by rigid configurations of both behavior and ritual. However, the nonverbal nature of the art process can offer a means for liberating bound and redundant interpersonal styles that often make relationships stale, rigid, and dysfunctional.

    The Chapters The chapters in this text provide the student, educator, and clinician with a timeline that is formulated to sequentially delineate the historical context of traditional family therapy theory along with innovative art tasks that complement each theory.

    From the perspective of art history scholarship, these works of art offer enormous validity and interpretative value for the use of family art images as a therapeutic tool in family treatment.

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