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Seeing and being seen : self-portraiture in art therapy


Seeing and being seen : self-portraiture in art therapy

Smith, Fiona (2008) Seeing and being seen : self-portraiture in art therapy. Other thesis, Concordia University.

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This research paper explores the importance for clients of being seen and mirrored within therapy and investigates the role of self-portraiture within these processes. Literature on the use of self-portraiture in therapy and on the gaze and mirroring in infant development and in psychotherapy is reviewed with particular attention to Winnicott's (2005) theory of mirroring. The dynamics surrounding self-portraiture are also considered in light of Schaverien's (1995) discussion of the three-way form of relating that develops in art therapy between the client, her image, and the therapist. This qualitative research project uses historical-documentary methodology and the theoretical portions of the paper are complemented by clinical vignettes. These vignettes are based on the work of five adult clients who created self-portraits in either group or individual art therapy as part of their therapeutic process in dealing with issues including sexual abuse, depression, and physical illness. The findings of this research suggest that when self-portraits are created in art therapy, the client, her artwork and the therapist become connected through the dynamics of the gaze. Within this situation, not only can the therapist mirror the client, the self-portrait may also fill this role. Self-portraits may allow the client to get in touch with aspects of herself on both physical and emotional levels and the completed image may reflect unexplored elements of the self back to the client. The self-portrait can then serve as a concrete link to what is discovered through it (Weiser, 1999) and the therapist's affirming gaze can further validate this new perspective

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Creative Arts Therapies
Item Type:Thesis (Other)
Authors:Smith, Fiona
Series Name:Research Paper
Pagination:vi, 71 leaves : col. ill. ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Creative Arts Therapies
Thesis Supervisor(s):Leclerc, Josée
Identification Number:RC 489 A7C6+ 2008 no.20
ID Code:976014
Deposited By: Concordia University Library
Deposited On:22 Jan 2013 16:18
Last Modified:13 Jul 2020 20:09
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