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Furman, E. (1973). Art as Therapy with Children: By Edith Kramer. New York: Schocken Books, Inc., 1971. 234 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 42:298-301.

(1973). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 42:298-301

Art as Therapy with Children: By Edith Kramer. New York: Schocken Books, Inc., 1971. 234 pp.

Review by:
Erna Furman

Edith Kramer's Art as Therapy with Children is itself a work of art: concise and subtly integrated in form, expressive of a wide range of honestly experienced feelings, and enormously evocative of the reader's response. The author starts with the raw materials of our society's resistance (rigid, defensive stereotypes and chaotic emptiness), explores individual avenues to artistic expression, describes the internal and external obstacles encountered and, with the sure simplicity of the sensitive artist, develops our understanding of what art is all about. She allows us to participate in the creative process and to share in the satisfaction of the completed product. The book skilfully envelops numerous verbal and pictorial illustrations of the children's work and gives them continuity, structure, and depth of feeling.

Art as Therapy with Children is, however, more than a work of art. It is an excellent textbook on art education, a joy and a help to any teacher who shares Miss Kramer's Socratic approach to teaching and her humane respect for the personalities and sensibilities of her charges. She does not spell out educational dicta but, characteristically, allows her pupils to teach us how to work with them. Her detailed examples imply that she never selfishly imposes herself on a child but supports the child's own groping for mastery and furthers his chances for achievement. Neither a martyr nor a saint, she feels frustrated and angry when a youngster provocatively destroys his work and is happily involved with the efforts of those who strive for artistic expression.

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