According to psychoanalytic thinking, artistic expression provides access to unconscious materials. This study extends the literature by examining the role of art materials, art making, and the resulting artistic product in the transferential relationship. Ten senior art psychotherapists took part in semi-structured interviewers that were analyzed according to Grounded Theory principles. Two major themes emerged from the data. The first theme suggests that during the art making process, transference emerges in the way clients handle the art materials provided by the psychotherapist, and in the corresponding client-psychotherapist interaction. The second theme suggests that the resulting artistic product not only serves as a visual expression of inner-world representations but also as a container of transferential content. These findings reflect the unique therapeutic space created by the presence of art materials, which encourage intra- and interpersonal transferential relationships. Within this creative space, the art psychotherapist can participate actively in the reconstruction of the client's early object relations, or may covertly function as a background witness who facilitates the client's own self-exploration.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by the Emili Sagol Creative Arts Therapies Research Center.
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd.
- Art materials
- Art therapy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Professions (miscellaneous)
- Clinical Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health