Thursday, 18 November 2010

Assignment 4 - The Summaries

I decided to look into the field of Art Therapy for my dissertation proposal. I am hoping to relate it to Education as a whole and highlight it's role in a young child's creative development.

The books I have found most helpful so far are : "Art As Healing" by Edward Adamson and "The Secret World Of Drawings: A Jungian Approach To Healing Through Art" by Gregg M. Furth.

Both of my summaries found below inspired me to look into my area of interest even further. I found deepening my knowledge of Art Therapy truly fascinating and I feel positively inspired and exited about my dissertation proposal which, for the time being, is in a draft form.

Both of the publications I used for the summaries below are books, this is mostly because I felt I needed to read more than just an article about my subject, considering how wide it is. I did read articles on my subject as well as books, yet I do not consider any of them sufficient at this level.

Edward Adamson - "Art As Healing".

“Art as Healing” explores the relationship between art practices such as painting, sculpture and sketching and the psychological effects that these have on young children, the mentally ill and the most vulnerable members of our society.

The author, Edward Adamson as an artist himself, challenges us to reconsider what therapy really is and how to use it in order to help to bring out some of the most shameful and difficult thoughts out to then deal with these through psychotherapy. The writer studies many examples from his work experience of over 37 years at the Hospital for mentally ill – Netherne Hospital.

The most vital part of the book is the exploration of numerous examples of drawings, paintings and sculptures that are visual examples of how art therapy affects individuals and how certain symbols being repeated throughout the whole field. Some other important aspects of this publication are: firstly, the layout of mental hospitals and similar institutions which is mentioned a number of times. Secondly, preventive art therapy is explored in the last chapter if the book and it relates to activities for troubled school students and people exposed to stressful and traumatic events at that particular point in their life.

When it comes to the author’s key sources and influences, primarily, it is his almost life time of work as the Art Director at the Netherne Hospital for the mentally ill. From that time, there are many studies made that the author included in the book. A few of these are, for example, explorations of symbolism and the hospital environment as well as particular art techniques used by the patients and their relevance in the recovery process. Furthermore, the writer has a private practice in his own studio in Chelsea and is a curator of a new art gallery near Cambridge which focuses on the works of his art therapy patients.

The most important conclusions the author reaches are how effective non-invasive treatment such as art therapy is in relation to mental illnesses and patients who are most vulnerable to post traumatic stress disorder and personality disorders. Another very important conclusion of the book is how important Art and Design as a school subject is. It is well know that in primary school all pupils are encouraged to participate in creative classes, however as soon as a transition to secondary education is made all efforts to develop the creative side of student’s personally are almost abandoned in order to focus all the attention on so called “real” subjects like Maths, Science or English. The implications of this could be tremendously severe as anger and frustration without a means of being expressed say stored in one’s subconscious waiting for a climax moment of outburst.

As a whole, I found this book truly helpful in gaining a better understanding of the subject of Art Therapy as a whole. Moreover, I appreciate the fact that the relevance of teaching art was mentioned and discussed, which is of great interest to myself. I am certain that in the near future, I will be delighted to look into this publication again to support some of my own views and conclusions.

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