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Goldsmiths - University of London

The art therapy large group as a teaching method for the institutional and political aspects of professional training

Skaife, Sally and Jones, Kevin. 2009. The art therapy large group as a teaching method for the institutional and political aspects of professional training. Learning in Health and Social Care, 8(3), pp. 200-209. ISSN 1745-4832 [Article]


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Abstract or Description

This paper discusses a unique experiential teaching method in the context of training for art psychotherapists and raises issues relevant to teaching for all workers in health and social care. The art therapy large experiential group of all the students and all the staff (80+), which is held six times a year on the 2-year full-time/3-year part-time programme, is identified with three educational components: learning about art therapy processes, learning about the educational process of becoming a professional, and learning about institutional and political issues relevant for the work-place.

This educational method engages the unconscious dynamics of both students and staff and brings this together, through creative activity, with a critical engagement in social and political issues. The group has implications for all health workers in its attention to non-verbal communication, activity as a means to learning and agency in institutional issues in the work-place. The paper brings together a case example in which students were able to process the impact of a nationwide, union strike in the university, with relevant literature from large group theory, small art therapy group theory and performance art. Discussion is given to the process by which the art therapy large group meets its learning objectives.

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Social, Therapeutic & Community Engagement (STaCS)



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Date Deposited:

15 Oct 2010 08:53

Last Modified:

09 Jul 2018 18:23

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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