A mother-child dyadic approach to art psychotherapy: Exploring a mother's childhood unresolved conflicts in reference to her traumatic experiences in her adult lifetime, through her interaction with her child and her art-making activity.
(2014) A mother-child dyadic approach to art psychotherapy: Exploring a mother's childhood unresolved conflicts in reference to her traumatic experiences in her adult lifetime, through her interaction with her child and her art-making activity., no. 60.
This clinical project aims to explore how art psychotherapy offers a transitional space in which traumatic feelings can be identified and worked through in a symbolic way. Research has shown that art psychotherapy is an effective intervention for clients who have experienced trauma. It helps them visualise and symbolically communicate these traumatic thoughts and feelings. Trauma reveals aspects of the infantile self; it therefore exposes one's early experiences. When working with trauma in therapy, it is important to value the complexity of one's psyche and historical factors that shaped his/her experience. Core psychodynamic theories illustrate the importance of the early caregiver-child relationships in terms of the individual's holistic development, later interpersonal relationship, and response to situations of distress. Adopting a mother- child dyadic approach to art psychotherapy, this single case study illustrates how a mother was able to safely explore her identity and perceptions of traumatic events in her adult lifetime, in reference to her childhood nurturing experiences with her parents. These were examined through her interaction with her child, the art therapist and art-products that she made. Two questions informed this case study inquiry. Firstly, to what extent the combination of a short term mother-child joint therapeutic intervention plus art psychotherapy could illuminate and give meaning to one's past traumatic experiences. Secondly, does a single case study meet the challenge of integrating individual human experience with the broader field of qualitative art psychotherapy research? Hermeneutic phenomenology was chosen as the most suitable approach to observe the particular mother-child-therapist interactions and art products, within the broader context of relevant literature and already existing research. The sessions have been divided into four significant themes which follow the progress of the therapy.