An exploration of attachment dynamics in art psychotherapy sessions with a young person on an inpatient psychiatric ward
The aim of this study is to explore attachment dynamics in art psychotherapy sessions with a young person on an inpatient psychiatric ward. The use of a hermeneutic phenomenological approach will allow the author to research the young person’s experience of art therapy during their time as an inpatient and make interpretations about these experiences. A case study method will be employed to present findings from the research. Data collected to inform the case study will be collected from a number of sources. These will include supervision notes; response images; the provision of art materials for the young person on the psychiatric ward; conversations naturally arising around the provision of these materials; an arts therapies service evaluation feedback form and a progress chart monitoring the young person’s engagement in art therapy sessions. A literature review will explore the research surrounding attachment styles and the application of attachment theory in psychodynamic psychotherapy. The use of transitional objects in art psychotherapy, joint art making between the client and the art therapist as well as art therapy and emotional regulation will also be critically analysed as part of this review. The main conclusions from the research were that: - The young person found art therapy a useful intervention in assisting her to self-regulate. - Art making by the art therapist alongside the young person provided her with a secure base from which to explore the materials independently. - Artwork created by the young person, the art materials themselves as well as the art therapist, acted as transitional objects for the young person in the absence of her primary caregiver.