Art therapy is a profession that uses images and image making to engage in everything from traditional psychotherapy to personal enrichment. Often, traditional verbal therapy is unable to access deeply held material. The process of making images and the artwork itself can provide another way of unpacking and bringing issues to light where they can be explored and heal. I do not analyze images. The person who creates the piece is the authority on their own artwork.
Art-based supervision is clinical oversight provided by a more experienced clinician to a new therapist that uses response art as a primary tool. When added to verbal discourse, response art provides a vehicle to explore and conceptualize treatment in ways that deepens understanding, supports insight, and clarifies communication. The supervisor holds the space for this reflection. Acting as gatekeeper and guide, the supervisor insures the quality of care provided to clients and supports the professional development of the new therapist.
I am an educator with more than 35 years of experience in graduate and doctoral programs, both in brick and mortar and video forums. My interests include art- based supervision, the use of response art in art therapy, understanding the risks and opportunities that are offered by harm’s touch, and art-based research. I understand that all image making is exploration and that exploration with a plan is research.
As a response to the events of September 11th 2001, Barbara Fish began the Art for Peace group with a small gathering of art therapy students in her home in Chicago, Illinois. Since then the group has grown to include artists, art therapists and others that value the potential of creativity in community. Our joint intention is to ground ourselves and support one another, promoting responsive expression in our lives.
Image-based Narrative Inquiry:
This original qualitative research method created for my doctoral research was presented at the conference of the American Art Therapy Association in 2006. It establishes the image as the subject of the interview and explores its life story
The fundamental principles of supervision provided in my book are useful for anyone interested in exploring the use of images to support reflection, understanding and empathy in their work. Full color images enrich the narrative.