Postage and Packing Free - The arts therapies have emerged from centuries of experimentation and exploration and offer the client new opportunities to work creatively, to develop himself and to change - within a secure environment.
publication date: September 2011
234 x 156 mm
Arts media (visual arts, dance, theatre, music, poetry) are experienced by the arts therapy client within a creative space and within the relationship between himself, the therapist and the art form. Within the framework of an inter-personal situation, repressed material can be represented by the client and handled both self-reflectively and as a direct encounter with the therapist, thereby providing opportunities for fresh understandings and the opportunity to create new connections.
Questions arise as to the specific nature of the ‘space between’ which might allow the possibility of making new relationships, thereby alleviating the client’s difficulties, and on the implications of the concept of a ‘space between’ for therapeutic practice. The contributors to this book explore these issues through a range of different arts therapies. The book focuses particularly upon ‘space between’ client and therapist as a way of opening a wider debate about the nature of therapeutic change. The following questions characterize a key and continuing debate within the profession. What are the expectations of the clients in this special space? What are they getting from their therapy? How might arts therapists enable clients to create, develop and inhabit a ‘space between’: that is to say between internal and external realities, between physical and mental spaces? And how might arts processes and art forms work to open up and link these different spaces? How might an engagement in an arts therapy space create connection where there is disconnection? And how might it create new opportunities in relationships, which allow changes to occur? In what ways might different therapeutic approaches within this space influence arts therapists’ processes?
The authors of the papers which constitute this publication, coming as they do from different countries, are eclectic with respect to their approaches to the theme, depending on their individual theoretical backgrounds and the special nature of their commitment, and given a particular art practice.
Thus, for J. K. Dubowski (UK), psychoanalysis has always occupied the space between consciousness and the unconscious. Images that are created through the artistic use of ‘active imagination’ can provide the unconscious with an opportunity to reveal significant aspects of itself, that, through interpretation, may then enter into consciousness.
Vincent Estellon (France) argues that therapy runs the risk of upsetting the symptomatic framework that upholds or supports the creative process. Healing, he proposes, is not so much a matter of eradicating the symptom, but rather of composing with one’s neurosis, rendering it more creative.
David Read Johnson (USA) explores the way the perception of difference opens a space for change. As soon as difference is noted, preference follows, for if there is difference, then the whole has been split and the person is incomplete. This incompleteness arises within us as desire that informs our next action. The ‘playspace’ allows us to engage with difference and proximity, to learn to tolerate it, delight in it and fear it less.
In her paper, Edith Lecourt (France) develops her own, practice-based reflections on the themes ‘the space between’ and ‘the potential for change’, and comments on their place and function in the arts therapies more generally, drawing upon the writings of authors such as Winnicott, Bion, Meltzer, Bick Bollas and Anzieu.
Marián López Fdz. Cao (Spain) explores ideas around the concept of creation associated with dominance and power over others. The paper analyses some of the fundamental characteristics of creativity in the contemporary world to elicit an alternative conception linked to caring and sharing, which can become a dynamic space for art therapy.
Mimmu Rankanen’s (Finland) concern is with the functions and implications that are manifested in the space between moving and touching, looking and feeling, thinking and symbolising both in undertaking the physical movement work and reflecting on the images produced in the course of therapy.
Malcolm Ross (UK) argues that there is much to be gained by conceiving of creative change in the arts as a moment of ‘illumination’ – rather than, as has been the more familiar case in the Western tradition, as a series of discrete, ‘problem-solving’ projects. He introduces his cyclical Syncretic Model based on Chinese Five Elements theory to argue his case.
The final contributor is France Schott-Billmann (France), who suggests that the dance therapist aims to restore the client’s relationships with others within the transitional space of the dance. The essential rhythmical patterns of the dance are adapted to form the basis of the links: the link to oneself, to others and to the group. Memories of rhythmical games between the mother and the child are transferred in the rhythms of the dance.
Both therapy and art occur in the space of consciousness. Having said that it must be immediately apparent that there is more to be said. What, for instance, are we to say for the place of the unconscious, of what we might call unreconstructed impulse, in both these practices? And what about ‘super-consciousness: the realm of divination – of creative insight, intuition and inspiration? Arranging these three notions as a continuum we locate consciousness itself as the ‘space between’ the unconscious and the super-conscious, as the potential space where the id and the superego cross over. Since both artist and therapist inhabit this ‘space between’ we have a clear rationale for the transformations we might hope for in arts therapy, namely, the creative, mutual reconciliation and adaptation of human aspiration and pretension.
The editors of this volume are delighted to be able to publish the papers selected here and have every confidence that readers will find them to be as challenging and as insightful as we have.
ECArTE Publications Committee, June 2011