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Wrottesley, C. (2016). An Interview with Joy Schaverien. Cpl. Fam. Psychoanal., 6(1):96-99.

(2016). Couple and Family Psychoanalysis, 6(1):96-99

Meeting the Author

An Interview with Joy Schaverien

Catriona Wrottesley, M.A.

Professor Joy Schaverien is the author of many books and papers principally, but not solely, on the subject of erotic transference and art in analysis. In her most recent book, Boarding School: The Psychological Trauma of the “Privileged” Child (Routledge, 2015), she turns her attention to the wounds of former boarding school pupils, a particular section of society whose difficulties, she maintains, are frequently overlooked. Often highly successful in a work sphere, their capacity to have full and satisfying relationships with themselves and others can be inhibited and sometimes severely impaired. Joy has described writing as a means to work out what she thinks, and says her writing is inextricably allied to clinical practice; her interest the psychological wounds of boarding school pupils grew out of her clinical work with a man she wrote about in The Dying Patient in Psychotherapy (2002), a book that addresses the themes of erotic transference, and also of the impact of the boarding school experience on her patient's capacity to relate.

Joy's career as a published writer spans twenty-three years, beginning in 1992 with The Revealing Image, a book that emerged from the thinking and writing she undertook for her PhD thesis at the University of Birmingham. That book arose from a need to establish in her own mind why art therapy works, and to formulate theories to underpin the work she had been doing with patients since her mid twenties. (This was a time when art psychotherapy was very little theorised.) Her particular interest, which at that time was innovative, was in the role of the picture or art object in the transference and countertransference dynamic. Her aim was also to communicate the value of analytical forms of art psychotherapy as a significant form of treatment to those who were unfamiliar with it, or who disregarded it as diversionary. As one of the early pioneers of art therapy in the UK, Joy describes having found her way in this profession by a progression from art therapist, to psychotherapist, to Jungian analyst. Her writing comes out of questions derived from clinical practice and a need to understand and theorise the processes observed.


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