Art-Based Group Therapy: Theory and Practice

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9780398079611: Art-Based Group Therapy: Theory and Practice

Leading art therapy groups is often a challenge, but as Bruce Moon so eloquently describes in this book, making art in the context of others is an incredibly and almost inexplicably powerful experience. He writes, 'Things happen for people in art therapy groups that really are almost magical.' The author's approach is to simultaneously explore how this magic occurs while still honoring the mystery and power of interpersonal art making. Through the author's effective use of storytelling, the reader encounters the group art therapy experience, transcending the case vignette and didactic instruction. Through his personal disclosures and vivid descriptions of amalgamated clinical situations, the reader is invited into art therapy sessions and given access to the mind, the heart, and the soul of the therapist. The book helps group leaders answer such questions as: Should I have a directive? How structured should the group be and how open-ended? Do all the group members have to work on the same task or should they work individually? What do I say, when do I say it, and how should I say it? Do I have to use language at all? How is this particular project therapeutic? The author encourages the art therapist to not look outside for validation, but rather to look from within. By placing the art at the center of practice, Art-Based Group Therapy creates an explanatory model and rationale for group practice that is rooted in art therapy theory and identity. The book will be of benefit to students, practitioners, and educators alike. Using it as a guide, art therapy students may be more empowered to enter into the uncertain terrains of their practica grounded in a theory soundly based in their area of study. Practitioners will no doubt be encouraged, validated, and inspired to continue their work. Educators can employ the twelve principles, as they teach the basic theories and applications of group dynamics and processes. Advocates and practitioners must continually explain, evaluate, and communicate what they do; the author succeeds in establishing a framework that allows art therapists to communicate the value of their work in a language that is unique to art therapy.

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Review:

In his second edition of Art-Based Group Therapy, Bruce Moon paints a vivid picture of an effective group leader while taking his readers on a thought provoking journey through his 30-plus years of successes and struggles in leading art-based therapy groups.

With the gentle guidance of a seasoned therapist, Moon invites readers to join him in examining the invaluable characteristics of the art-based therapy group.

Moon notes early on that this book is not meant to provide particular art tasks or cook-book descriptions of group directives, and he indeed provides so much more.

With a tone of empowerment that permeates each chapter, Moon urges group leaders to reconsider the traditional beliefs that talking is necessary in order for growth to occur and that therapists should maintain a detached, opaque demeanor in order to help their clients.

I highly recommend this book to art therapists, art-based group leaders, as well as faculty and students in graduate art therapy programs. Not only is Art-Based Group Therapy well written, easy to follow and visually stimulating, it is written the way a good class should be taught by providing stimuli that appeal to different types of learners and reinforcing ideas through visual images, stories and practical applications. --Erin Blair-Journal of Applied Arts & Health, May 2017

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Bruce L. Moon
Published by Charles C Thomas Pub Ltd (2010)
ISBN 10: 0398079617 ISBN 13: 9780398079611
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