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Art Therapy, Race and Culture

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While therapists are increasingly working with multi-ethnic client groups, there is a paucity of material available for them to develop approaches, which meet diverse cultural and racial needs. Art Therapy, Race and Culture is a stimulating and inspiring collection which explores the often contentious themes of race, racism and culture in relation to the experience of art therapy, in a positive and constructive way. Contributors examine the impact of racial perceptions in their own experience, their clients' lives, and on the interaction of therapist and client.
The potential of art therapy as a force of liberation, and art therapists as cultural activists, is explored. Cultural differences in meanings applied to 'colour' and to the nature of art are also discussed. Illustrated with line drawings and photographs, the book presents work, ideas and theories based on the practical experiences of therapists from many different backgrounds and their work with clients from equally diverse origins.
  • Published: Feb 01 1999
  • Pages: 336
  • 226 x 152mm
  • ISBN: 9781853025785
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Press Reviews

  • Inscape

    I am grateful to the authors for providing a means for art therapists to reassess their attitudes, judgments and strategies on confronting difference, not solely in their practice but in their lives. ...A collection of narratives that art therapists cannot afford to ignore and which provides them with an opportunity to re-evaluate and challenge their practice. Finally, there is an impressive bibliography and comprehensive references following each chapter which will surely inspire further reading and increase the pleasure to be gained from this notable book.
  • American Journal of Art Therapy

    Art Therapy, Race and Culture is a revealing compilation of anecdotal writings by professional and student members of the British Association of Art Therapists. The ethnic backgrounds of these authors are as diverse as those of the clients with whom they work in various urban sections of England. The book offers a clear presentation of case materials, clinical methods, and clinical approaches. The heart of this book, however, challenges the traditional psychoanalytic/psychodynamic model used in art therapy, while advocating for the inclusion of issues on race and culture into art therapy practice. Throughout the text, the writers also describe their experiences with cross-cultural issues in individual and group art therapy sessions. These personal stories include themes of racism, culture identity struggles, and the diversity of human experience. At times, I found these stories discomforting because they compelled me to examine my life experiences, professional training, and work.
  • British Journal of Occupational Therapy

    The case material used is both sensitively introduced and managed, and provides an excellent method for exploring the complex issues around the cultural aspects of therapeutic interventions. These issues are relevant across professional boundaries, and would provide very useful reading for both students and qualified professionals likely to be working with culturally diverse populations… this is a book that also has appeal as a purely enjoyable read. I found it thoroughly engaging and thought provoking. It has used its material extremely well to discuss a range of issues of significance to health workers'.
  • OTPLD Newsletter

    The book explains the interactions between Art Therapists, the service they work within and the people who use these services. The contributors reflect on both their own personal experiences of race and racism and those of the people they have worked with, in a positive and constructive way. The authors include examples of experiences which have contributed to their own personal growth...Positive aspects of the book: The honesty of the contributors accounts; The way contributors describe events which have led to their own personal growth; The potential of the information in this book to help other therapists reflect on the dynamics of their relationship with other members of a multi-disciplinary team, and clients who are from another race/culture and the courageous way in which the contentious aspects of race, racism and culture have been explored...Well worth reading as it provides insights about both therapists and clients who use the art therapy service. It has added to my understanding of how it feels to be `different' in a predominantly white culture and made me reflect on my own attitudes and expectations.
  • Accord

    It was a real pleasure to be given this book to review. The Jessica Kingsley label promises a text that is written by people in the field who know what they are talking about, and this one is no exception. Each chapter has a specific angle from which each author views this subject, culminating in an inspirational list of References and Bibliography – a useful aid in further study. In fact this is not a book to be raced through, but savored, a chapter at a time, and pondered over. Some writers are from a different culture themselves, some from a different race, but every author writes with openness and honesty about their findings. The result is a wealth of information that is both insightful and challenging. The subject matter, which is diverse and reflects a variety of therapeutic belief systems, is dealt with in a factual but sensitive manner, clearly stated. Indeed, if ever there were a danger of being complacent as a therapist, regarding work with people of other races or cultures, this book would be the ideal challenge to re-evaluate how we see ourselves, the client and the world in which we meet. It presents a viewpoint that can easily be missed altogether or taken for granted and ignored completely. Do not be put off by the fact that the title infers the book is for Art Therapists. The content is relevant to any therapist or counselor, who will ever work with people with a different attitude or persuasion from themselves. Be prepared for some real eye-opening insights into the different effects of race and culture has on relationships and viewpoints. Things you may never have considered about your own race and culture could well alter the way you work as a counselor for the better.