Unpacking gender in art therapy: The elephant at the art therapy easel
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AbstractA national survey of registered art therapists in Britain was undertaken to create both quantitative and qualitative data about how ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation influence the therapeutic relationship. A tick-box scale was used alongside more open questions. This article presents the initial findings of the research and will focus on gender issues in the art therapy relationship; it will elucidate some of the ways in which art therapists conceptualise gender in the therapeutic alliance. The research indicates that the overwhelming majority of art therapists think that their own gender is very important to the therapeutic encounter. The personal preference of the client, personal history and presenting issues, which may be gender related, are highlighted by both male and female respondents. Art therapists seek to be aware and non-judgemental regarding gender. An interesting finding highlights that the transference gender might not correspond to the biological sex, suggesting that some art therapists have a ‘mobile’ understanding of gender, and are keen not to foreclose conceptual possibilities because of gender. This would also seem to indicate a permeation of postmodernist ideas into art therapy thinking.
CitationHogan, S., Cornish, S. (2014) 'Unpacking gender in art therapy: The elephant at the art therapy easel', International Journal of Art Therapy, 19 (3):122
JournalInternational Journal of Art Therapy
Series/Report no.Vol. 19.