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What Do You See?: Phenomenology of Therapeutic Art Expression Paperback – March 1, 1995

1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-1853022616 ISBN-10: 1853022616

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What Do You See?: Phenomenology of Therapeutic Art Expression + A Multi-Modal Approach to Creative Art Therapy
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Editorial Reviews


There is a freshness and simplicity to Betensky's approach that is attractive, with its emphasis on the immediate and the directly visible, and with its respect for the client's own perception. The structure of the book mirrors in some way this directness, with concise summaries beginning and ending each chapter and with clearly described theory interwoven with frequent, enlightening case illustrations, including many drawings and some colour reproductions... Betensky approaches [the reader] with a flexible, searching style that reflects her willingness to take unexpected directions in her quest for understanding and her ability to elucidate these thoughts for the reader...the exercises contribute to the book's practicality for the art therapy reader... This thoughtful, practical book presents multiple examples from clinical case material demonstrating the effectiveness of art therapy, particularly to the non-art therapist. It will serve art therapists and non-art therapists alike in presenting a focused view of the phenomenological approach to art therapy and its advantages. -- Art Therapy the book has much to offer the open minded and eclectic art therapist who could adapt and use these ideas with a wide range of client groups in a variety of settings. -- Inscape Dr Betensky has made a significant contribution to the literature of art therapy...what she has done is to provide us, not only with the kinds of creative syntheses exemplified in her diagnostic, therapeutic, and research work; she has also introduced us, clearly and vividly, to the basic elements of symbolic expression in art - line, shape, colour, etc - and how they can be viewed from a phenomenological perspective. We would do well to adopt those of her techniques which seem relevant and adapt them as needed in the flexible manner of the author herself. And we would do very well to emulate the kind of scholarship, clarity and creative synthesis evident in this book, whatever form our own work eventually takes. -- From the Foreword It feels like I am with her in the consultation room when she describes an episode with a patient. She is not just a technician. She is a professional, dealing with philosophy, past experience of other professionals and past history of the field, and her own history of work with patients. -- Dr Morris J Chalick

Book Description

Integrating art, phenomenology and gestalt psychology, describing specific techniques and findings.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 222 pages
  • Publisher: Jessica Kingsley (March 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1853022616
  • ISBN-13: 978-1853022616
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #325,431 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Barnes on August 31, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is unique in the sense that Mala Betensky applies phenomenological theory to the use of Art in Therapy. Until Mala wrote this book, there was little available for the phenomenologist to read in the use of art in therapy. As a therapist myself, and a phenomenologist, it is refreshing to read about the phenomenological use of Art in Therapy.
There is a wealth of Art Therapy literature using psychalalytic theory, and there is a small amount of work by brief and narrative therapists on the use of Art in Therapy. While there are a few journal articles, and a few chapters in books on the phenomenological use of Art in Therapy, Mala's book is the only one that I know of where a whole book is dedicated to Phenomenology.
As a therapist and researcher, I have found the second chapter very useful. In this chapter, Mala gives a clear description of a four step sequence that a therapist can take a client through. One begins with "pre art play", then shifts to "the process of art work", to "phenomenological intuiting", then the "what do you see? procedure". It is my experience, that these steps usually lead the client to a deeper sense of self understanding and also a sense of resolution. What emerges on the page can be unexpected, often providing a unique insight into the client's problem. In this process, unexpected solutions also emerge.
I have found Mala's process to be a very powerful theraputic tool, particularily when clients have sensitive concerns that they may have difficulty verbalising. For example, some clients, who have been abused as children, can be very reluctant to verbally describe their experiences. These clients are more comforetable drawing their experiences. They may also feel safer with the drawing process because it allows them to externalise the matter of concern. What they promised not to talk about, can sometimes be drawn.
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What Do You See?: Phenomenology of Therapeutic Art Expression
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