In the margins: Art therapy with a homeless man under the influence of alcohol

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Catherine Miller
Christopher Brown


This article presents a case study of short-term art therapy with a homeless man that was undertaken in a residential hostel by a trainee therapist. One of the features of this work was that the client was an alcoholic who came to his sessions in varying degrees of intoxication. Although this presented some challenges the authors argue that his engagement in a therapeutic process had meaning that could be understood through a clinical witnessing of enactments within the transference-countertransference matrix. This required paying close attention to countertransference phenomena as expressed through the trainee therapist’s art responses to sessions, which were explored in supervision.

Keywords: homelessness, alcohol dependency, witnessing, art therapy, art therapy training, clinical supervision.

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