'Reunion of broken parts' (Arabic a/-jabr): A therapist's personal art practice and its relationship to an NHS outpatient art psychotherapy group: an exploration through visual arts and crafts practice

Mahony, Jacqueline E.. 2009. 'Reunion of broken parts' (Arabic a/-jabr): A therapist's personal art practice and its relationship to an NHS outpatient art psychotherapy group: an exploration through visual arts and crafts practice. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

'Reunion of broken parts' explores the relationship between the therapist's personal art practice and the creative art experience of an art psychotherapy group for people with severe and complex mental health difficulties. These practices are usually kept apart. A process of artmaking is examined, including my own as therapist in and outside the studio-based group. The political implications of styles of research writing are discussed.

The significance of the investigation is in using art practice as a visual heuristic methodology to explore the junction between visual arts, art psychotherapy and studio practice. Exhibition practices of curating displays of archival material and exhibition visits to examine relevant artists' work were combined with illustrated, autobiographical narratives constructed for analysis. A visually-based case study examines photographs of the group's art. Exploring my own living archive, collected over 20 years, links my art history to the present.

The research shows how deep, complex and reciprocal exchanges were facilitated by the therapist's artmaking, even when unseen by the group, implying that the therapist's personal art practice is integral to clinical practice both in and outside clinical groups, and requires far greater consideration. Communication through unspoken metaphor is emphasised, especially in the containment and role modelling of the creative process by the therapist. It is suggested that the therapist's carefully considered artmaking in art psychotherapy groups can significantly enhance the clients' experiences. A non-verbal discourse appeared to take place giving visual form to the group matrix as described in group analysis, and refashioning personal histories in sustained, labour-intensive processes without necessarily being understood. An examination of craft practices is distinctive, showing they can materialise the culture and autobiography of individuals and a group, embodying complex ideas and offering visual interpretations. Genres of art are shown to offer a route for accessing issues of power and cultural meaning.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.25602/GOLD.00028591

Keywords:

therapy, art practice, artmaking, art psychotherapy, mental health, visual heuristic methodology

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Social, Therapeutic & Community Engagement (STaCS)

Date:

September 2009

Item ID:

28591

Date Deposited:

01 Jun 2020 10:26

Last Modified:

01 Jun 2020 10:27

URI:

http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/28591

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