Hello, my creative neurons!
If I could choose one thing to do all day, everyday - other than making art - it would be reading. Reading has given me so much joy and I can't imagine life without snuggling with a nice cup of freshly made coffee and a good book.
Also, as it's the end of September now and it's getting colder and darker (or, if you're in Australia/NZ, it's not quite summer yet), this is the perfect time to do exactly that.
Recently I've become very curious to learn more about how we can use creativity for our wellbeing - and to understand how art therapy works. Art and psychology are both subjects that interest me greatly, and art therapy is the perfect blend of both!
So, it makes sense that I read some books on art therapy.
At this point I've got 3 books to get through, and I'm close to finishing the first one. I want to share with you which ones they are in case you'd like to join me in reading them. Once I've read them all I could write a review of each book, if that's something you'd be interested in?
These are actually recommendations that I received from actual working art therapists from the U.S. and Iceland. I emailed a few of them a while back to ask for advice on study paths to take for someone wanting to pursue art therapy, and I also asked if they had any favorite books on the subject - which they were all so kind to share! So, I expect that they are worth the read and offer some sound advice.
Here are the three books on art therapy currently on my reading list:
Art Psychotherapy (2nd edition)
- by Harriet Wadeson
This is the one book I've already started and am well over halfway through.
Dr. Harriet Wadeson is among the world's leading art therapists, as she has been working in this (relatively new) field for decades. She is also the author of this thorough and informative guide on art therapy. In this book she explains everything from the benefits of art therapy and the relationship between art therapists and other medical professionals to how art therapy is and should be taught, as well as explaining how art therapy is useful for patients with different needs - from trauma survivors to people with depression to schizoprenia, as well as people with physical conditions and addiction. She also discusses the various ways art therapy can be structured (group therapy, family therapy, individual, community based...). She even touches on how cultural differences can affect how people view or experience therapy and why understanding this is important. Honestly, this book seems to cover everything and from what I've read so far, I do feel that she explains things well, all the way to the basics. But it is a long and a pretty heavy read.
It includes a lot of artwork made by Wadeson's former patients, which helps us gain insight.
Expressive Therapies Continuum; a Framework for Using Art in Therapy
- by Lisa D. Hinz
As far as I understand before reading this book, it is basically a guide that teaches you the foundations of art therapy - and more specifically the model of "the expressive therapies continuum" which is like a framework for assessing and planning art therapy. It tells you a brief history of the concept as well as how to apply it to your practice. This book also including case studies and artwork made by patients.
It's suggested that this book is great to use as reference as you're going.
NOTE: I actually only realised as I made this blog post that I have the 1st edition, but there is a 2nd one as well! So, if you are able to, maybe you should go for the 2nd edition? Let me know which one you read and what your thoughts are!
Handbook of Art Therapy (2nd edition)
- edited by Cathy A. Malchiodi
As the name suggests, this is simply a handbook for everything Art Therapy. It covers everything from art therapy theories and research on the subject to guidance on how to put the ideas into practice. In this second edition, there is even information about art materials to use - and they have added information on matters such as ethics and differences in cultures. I was also very excited to see that it mentions "expanded coverage of neurobiology", as I find that quite an interesting subject. Case studies and 110 examples of artwork by patients can be found in this book too - similar to the other two. At nearly 500 pages, I expect this book to be quite thorough and to cover many aspects of the field of art therapy.
Please join me in reading these books, and let me know what you think of them (in the comments, via email or even on Instagram). Or you can wait for me to read them - once I've finished them I'll give you my review here on the blog.
Take care and happy reading.