‘The beholder looks at an object, the object changes the beholder’: Creating new universes in art psychotherapy intervention with a client with a diagnosis of complex post-traumatic stress disorder originating from childhood abuse and neglect.
This single case study is concerned with the use of art psychotherapy in the treatment of clients with a diagnosis of complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD) as a result of experiences of childhood abuse and neglect. This study aims to describe art psychotherapies unique abilities in working within recommended trauma intervention guidelines, identifying specific mechanisms of its use within phase-based treatment. Art Psychotherapy intervention can be found to uniquely assist in Phase 1: safety and stabilisation, Phase 2: the processing of traumatic memoires and Phase 3: reintegration. This study finds that art psychotherapy can empower abuse survivors to recreate and re-imagine the psychological faculties that were damaged and deformed in their early experience of trauma opening up new authentic possibilities of being and the prospect of hope. This study highlights the need for further evidence-based research into the contributions of art psychotherapy in the treatment of complex trauma, specifically it suggests the importance of a collaborative voice in working with clients to document their theory of change.