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Stobart, K. (1998). KILLICK, KATHERINE & SCHAVERIEN, JOY (eds.). Art, Psychotherapy and Psychosis. London & New York: Routledge, 1997. Pp. 264. Hbk. £50.00; Pbk. £16.99.. J. Anal. Psychol., 43(4):618-620.

(1998). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 43(4):618-620

KILLICK, KATHERINE & SCHAVERIEN, JOY (eds.). Art, Psychotherapy and Psychosis. London & New York: Routledge, 1997. Pp. 264. Hbk. £50.00; Pbk. £16.99.

Review by:
Karen Stobart

Art, Psychotherapy and Psychosis is a collection of twelve essays by art therapists. The first six chapters contain a wealth of fascinating clinical material, largely from public health settings, much of which is illustrated by the patients' own art work. The range of patient diagnosis includes all the main psychotic illnesses: schizophrenia, manic depression, personality disorder as well as the institutionally ill. The second half of the book looks more closely at the context within which art therapy has been practised and outlines its historical base.

The breadth of psychodynamic theory used by the writers suggests that art therapy is still evolving a model of understanding for the process which occurs when the use of an image (by which I mean any art work produced by the patient) is included in the therapeutic process. All the writers seem agreed that the image serves, in some way, as a container for unbearable feeling. Katherine Killick in Chapter 2 illustrates the manner in which the therapeutic setting also acts as a container. The process whereby the patient evacuates the feeling is generally referred to as similar to projective identification, described by Klein and elaborated by Bion. The argument presented in this book is that the image offers the therapeutic advantage of being separate from both patient and therapist. Thus the image mediates the relationship, making it possible for the patient to talk about what is unbearable without also having to deal with the feeling that they might destroy the therapist.

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