Subjective Experiences of At-Risk Children Living in a Foster-Care Village Who Participated in an Open Studio

Michal Bat Or, Reut Zusman-Bloch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The open studio art therapy model offers a space for free creation; in this space, the art therapist supports the participants’ art process. According to this model, the creative process is the central component of the therapeutic work. This qualitative study seeks to learn, through an analysis of interviews and artwork, about the subjective experiences of at-risk children living in a foster-care village who participated in an open studio. In addition, it seeks to identify changes in the artwork over time. This study involves a qualitative thematic analysis, while the analysis of visual data is based on the phenomenological approach to art therapy. The data include interviews and 82 artworks of five participants, aged 7–10 years. Five main themes emerged from the analysis of the visual and verbal data: (a) engaging in relationships; (b) moving along the continuum from basic, primary, art expressions (e.g., smearing, scribbling, etc.) to controlled expressions; (c) visibility, on a range between disclosure and concealment; (d) holding versus falling/instability; and (e) experiencing and expressions of change. The discussion expands on the themes in relation to key concepts in the field of psychodynamic psychotherapy and art therapy. It also examines the unique characteristics of this population in reference to empirical studies on developmental trauma and challenges of out-of-home placement. Finally, it discusses the study’s limitations and presents recommendations for further research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1218
Issue number8
StatePublished - 12 Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors.


  • art
  • at-risk children
  • foster care
  • open studio

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Subjective Experiences of At-Risk Children Living in a Foster-Care Village Who Participated in an Open Studio'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this