Developing safe space through art therapy in a child and adolescent In-patient unit

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Emma Inman


The following case study provided a clinical vignette for my MA Art Psychotherapy dissertation, which explored the dynamics between art therapy, groups and adolescents in psychiatric inpatient services.
An introduction provides a thorough view of the state of children’s mental health and the services offered within England, highlighting aspects in need of attention and using up-to-date data to draw these conclusions from.

A case vignette offers an experience of the art therapy group with adolescent inpatients and links theoretical ideas to practice. Alongside other group art therapy theories, development of an aspect of an embedded theory such as containment is offered as a hypothesis. Through the discussion it is fair to conclude art therapy may provide safe space in the environment because images themselves act as containers. Art therapy models the scaffolding needed in this setting and the quantitative and qualitative research reviewed indicates that art therapy can be a useful intervention for this client population.

Keywords: Art Therapy, Group, Collaborative, Adolescent In-Patient, Pre- therapy, Systemic Containment 

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