Congruence of Professional Values: An Exploration of the Reciprocity between Art Teaching and Art Therapy

Clare Dickson


This study explores the overlapping paradigms that exist within the professional disciplines of both art therapy and teaching. The vehicle deployed to articulate these issues is the “Critical Incident Technique” which has been developed as a training tool for teachers. Different approaches to reflective practice, supervision, and experiential learning are explored. In addition the article probes the artistic identity of the art teacher/art therapist and how this impacts on experiential work, in addition to its validity in the teaching arena. This creative identity is omnipresent in both the art teaching and art therapy context and needs to be openly examined. It is argued that different professional values exist particularly in relation to pragmatic issues in art, such as participation, demonstration or collaboration where the creative input of the professional is involved. It concludes that these values can exist in parallel and adapt according to the context and experience. This eclectic approach should be welcomed. These issues are at the core of our professional practice and to encourage debate in the professional arena will lead to more informed practice.

Keywords: teaching, experiential, learning, professional values, critical incident.

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