Shaking, and making, the ground on which art therapy stands

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Dr. Sheridan Linnell


In this paper, Sheridan proposes that, although art therapy is not grounded in a clear and singular body of theory, neither is art therapy ”˜groundless’. She draws on the work of poststructurally oriented philosophers to suggest that art therapy, its subjects (including art therapists themselves) and its truths are continually being made and remade within relations of knowledge and power. Art therapy can be understood as an embodied, discursive and relational practice in which subject and object, and (as the new materialism suggests) matter and meaning, are always already entangled. This perception moves an exploration of the relationship between the theories, practices and politics of art therapy into an explicitly ethical dimension.

Key words: art psychotherapy, narrative therapy, poststructuralism, poetry, contemporary art

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Panel 3. What is the theoretical ground on which art therapy stands?