Drawing the group: a visual exploration of a therapeutic space online

Omand, Helen. 2022. Drawing the group: a visual exploration of a therapeutic space online. In: Usva Seregina and Astrid Van den Bossche, eds. Art-based Research in the Context of a Global Pandemic. New York: Routlege. ISBN 9780367772628 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

Drawing can be a means of discovery, a way of working something out. I turned to drawing in my practice as an art therapist working online during the COVID-19 pandemic. This chapter sets out an art-based investigation in the form of a series of my drawings, all of which I made while facilitating a therapeutic art studio group online for adults experiencing mental health difficulties. Examined here, the drawings, accompanied by my written diary account of making each one in the group, are a subjective and reflexive exploration of our relating as a group in an unfamiliar online space, amidst increasing existential fears and acute states of mind as the pandemic progressed. In drawing, I first sought out the humanness of the group in semi-portraits, which then developed into complex interconnected networks and doodle-like structures as I started to develop a visual language for my experience of the group. Themes of time, temporality, space and place were evoked, as well as illness and fragmentation. Pencil on paper anchored me in our new digital life adrift online, as we grappled with conflict, connection, and desire for relatedness. Drawing was more than a reflection of the nature of our group, it played an active and embodied part in my exploration and understanding of it, and my learning as a therapist during the pandemic.

Item Type:

Book Section

Identification Number (DOI):



drawing, COVID-19, art therapy, mental health, therapeutic art group

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Institute of Management Studies


July 2022Accepted
30 September 2022Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

27 Jul 2022 15:27

Last Modified:

30 Mar 2024 02:26



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