Home Is Where the Art Is: An Art Therapy Approach to Family Therapy Review

Home Is Where the Art Is: An Art Therapy Approach to Family Therapy
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I used this book as a supplemental text in a course I recently taught in a graduate art therapy program. I appreciated its contribution related to adding much needed information to using art therapy interventions with families. I would recommend it as an introductory text based on one professional's experience with family art therapy that includes many good and creative ways of working with individuals within the family system.

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This work reflects the author's three decades of clinical practice with children and their families, and adults and their families. Written for students and professionals, this book integrates the two approaches: art therapy and family systems. Although much has been written on art therapy and much, much more literature exists on family therapy, few integrate the two theoretical approaches. The structure of this book reflects the author's personal approach to art. Her art media are painting and combining found objects. The overall theme of family can quickly be seen within it, but this theme is overlaid with art, archetypal patterns and meanings, and symbolic enactments. It is also interfaced with personality development, and in this "era of the brain," with neurobiological research. The introduction begins with a brief introduction to Randy and his Dad and Stepmother. Chapter Two begins with the question: "What is a family?" Chapter Three introduces the reader to the "Cycle of Love" and the family influences in personality development, seen in personality theorists and theories (e.g., Freud, Jung, attachment and object relations, Eriksson, and Piaget). Stories about Michelle, Elizabeth, Tucker and Carl provide theoretical examples. Since more and more family therapy practice includes violence associated with the unfilled basic human needs of nourishment and nurturing, Chapter Four, "The Cycle of Violence," begins with a discussion of violence and its effect on early childhood environments. Chapter Five continues the theme of violence within families, and Chapter Six, "The Cycle of Healing," includes a discussion of resilience illustrated by a variety of stories from an integration of family and art therapy. Appendix A is filled with the practical "how to's" of family art therapy. Appendix B includes the "how to" interventions, and Appendix C includes key terms and concepts of a select group of family therapy theorists.

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