Parting is Such Sweet Sorry or Is It? Closing the Art Therapy Space at Termination

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Arnell Etherington


Episodes of clinical art therapy practice include stages of assessment, planning, intervention, and endings (Wilson, 1984; Walsh, 2003). Terminations planned or unplanned each lend a particular psychological/cultural context. The space of the art therapist/patient has engendered a powerful fulcrum around which healing has occurred. The sanctity of the art therapy space will be dissolved. How will that work, that relationship, and that space be carried forward?

The ‘creative potential’ at closure is often overlooked as mourning begins, in some form, on all sides. Within that mourning of the art therapy can be seen the patient’s gains, the patient–art therapist relationship, the art produced, and the art studio/office that provides a physical container for the work that is now being completed. Ending holds rich possibilities for the patient and the therapist.

Keywords: Art psychotherapy, endings in psychotherapy, bereavement, termination, closure, psychotherapy 

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