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Stanton, M. (1996). Schaverien, Joy. Desire and the Female Therapist: Engendered Gazes in Psychotherapy and Art Therapy. London: Routledge, 1995. Pp. xiii + 233. Hbk £45.00; Pbk £17.99.. J. Anal. Psychol., 41(4):610-611.

(1996). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 41(4):610-611

Schaverien, Joy. Desire and the Female Therapist: Engendered Gazes in Psychotherapy and Art Therapy. London: Routledge, 1995. Pp. xiii + 233. Hbk £45.00; Pbk £17.99.

Review by:
Martin Stanton

Since her celebrated 1982 Inscape article (‘Transference as an aspect of art therapy’), Joy Schaverien has been widely appreciated as a determined and innovative exponent of psychoanalytic—as opposed to ‘general’—art therapy. This has led her not only to argue for and illustrate the value of the concepts of transference and countertransference, projective identification, and transitional space in the practice of art therapy, but also to advocate and design new psychoanalytically-informed trainings, which have established a separate title of ‘art psychotherapist’ (as opposed to simply art therapist). A fascinating feature of her work, therefore, has been her subtle and complex negotiation of both the tensions between psychoanalytic and non-psychoanalytic traditions in art therapy, and the disputes surrounding the integration of visual material into psychoanalytic psychotherapy (pp. 123 ff.). Such tensions were initially explored in The Revealing Image: Analytical Art Psychotherapy in Theory and Practice (1991), but examined in more detail in this book, where, intriguingly, ‘psychotherapy’ and ‘art therapy’ become separated in the subtitle. It is a moot point then whether the various examples of clinical material beautifully presented here come under the former category, the latter, or the new hybrid of ‘art psychotherapy’.

Desire and the Female Therapist clearly aims both to address the practical issues of erotic transference in clinical work (illustrated here by a case history of a male anorexic), and to engage with feminist debate on the role of gender in structuring the production and perception of visual material (especially works of art).

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