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The Revealing Image

Analytical Art Psychotherapy in Theory and Practice
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Schaverien painstakingly describes and defines "processes which have so far only been intuitively known to art therapists" (p6) by introducing and elaborating the psychoanalytical concepts of transference and countertransference in relation to the use of visual art objects. The authors stated intention in this book is "to attempt to bridge the perceived gap between the practice of art therapy and analytical forms of psychotherapy..."(p 229) The epistemological base of this venture includes the fields of philosophy, anthropology, and aesthetics, as well as psychoanalysis.

Schaverien suggests that analytical art psychotherapy is a way of working analytically with patients who are unsuitable, or unready, for psychotherapy, giving examples of psychotic and borderline patients, children, and patients in psychiatric settings.

This is primarily a book about an analytical approach within art therapy, which may be of interest in itself. The material also raises issues of interest to analysts and psychotherapists, whether or not they work with art in the clinical setting. The book clarifies areas of similarity between the disciplines, and also makes areas of difference apparent. For example, most analysts would agree that visual art, like dream material, and other non-verbal representations of the inner world, can at times articulate and communicate meanings which for one reason or another cannot be verbally articulated at the time, and that this can be pertinent to the aim of analysis. However, I think few analysts would include facilities in their consulting rooms for the kind of art processes described in the book.

When the analyst is working with materials in this form, the book will be extremely helpful in sorting out the complexity of the transference situation and the role of interpretation. The book is so strongly grounded in experiences emerging in the presence of actual art processes and objects that I think it will be of most interest to those who are interested in the specific clinical issues involved in relating to the making and use of actual art objects within the setting. Schaverien not only describes the processes involved in detail, but also presents technical approaches to the making and handling of art objects within the setting which will inform the capacity of those who are not trained as art therapists to relate to this kind of material in the consulting room.'
  • Published: Sep 01 1999
  • Pages: 264
  • 226 x 150mm
  • ISBN: 9781853028212
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Press Reviews

  • Transcultural Psychiatry

    Schaverien's text is rich in ideas... Schaverien applies her polycular lens to a well-chosen case study; its images embody the alchemical cycle of psychological transformation in a remarkable way.
  • The Journal of Analytical Psychology

    Since its first publication in 1991, Joy Schaverien's thoughtful and inspiring book The Revealing Image has become a seminal text. It links the two worlds of analytical psychotherapy and art therapy in the practice of analytical art psychotherapy, which establishes the art object in a central position as the locus of transformation. This book is essential reading for anyone who is interested in the healing powers of art, the archetypal nature of images, and ways of tracking the transference. Analytical psychotherapists may find themselves inspired to rush out to the art shop and stock up on paints, of at the very least look with added enthusiasm on any artwork that finds its way into the consulting room. Jung positively encouraged his patients to paint and draw, as he did himself, and I frequently find myself working with people who use art as a means of self-expression, discovery and healing. Sometimes pictures can say more than words, which this book so eloquently illustrates.
  • The Journal of the British Association of Psychotherapists

    A subtle and fascinating account of the experience of art therapy. Schaverien skilfully reveals the intense drama with which the process is invested if it is to make contact with the patient's deepest desires and emotions. The threads of resemblance between art therapy and psychoanalysis are finely traced.
  • Professor Richard Wollheim, University of California, Berkeley

    Explores previously uncharted territory in art therapy focussing on the complex transference phenomena of value to art therapists it merits the attention of psychotherapists one of the first serious attempts to bridge the two disciplines.
  • British Journal of Psychotherapy

    It is hard to do full justice to this clear and well-written book. ...The author backs up her ideas with a full discussion of [their] psychological, aesthetic and philosophical origins...most importantly she includes an extended and convincingly illustrated case study...Schaverien has put the picture right back in the centre of art therapy.
  • Journal of Analytical Psychology

    The Revealing Image was first published in 1991 and since then has become a seminal text. Drawing on philosophical aesthetics, psychoanalysis and analytical psychology this is an innovative study of the role of art within the transference and countertransference dynamic. Using many illustrations, both in colour and black and white, The Revealing Image makes the complex ideas of analytical art psychotherapy readily accessible. It is essential reading for art therapists, psychotherapists, analytical psychologists, counsellors and all those who encounter art within a therapeutic relationship, whether experienced practitioners or trainees.