Art Therapy As Witness: A Sacred Guide


In this treatise, Dr. Ellen Horovitz shares
a wealth of therapeutic tales and techniques. At the end of each chapter, she offers practical suggestions in exercise format. This is followed by a section where the reader can respond, via art making, journaling, and/or discussion. It will be of special interest to professional art therapists, educators, counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, speech language therapists, social workers, and students.

Witnessing the restoration of the client’s spiritual, emotional, and developmental issues is pinnacle for recovery. At the end of each parable are practical suggestions in exercise format. This is followed by a space where the reader can respond using this as a workbook and reflective guide, which is its exact intent.

As well, it can be used as a supervisory book in the classroom. And perchance if there is a lone therapist who prefers to walk this path singularly, it can serve as a companion guide. Verily, it raises more questions than it answers, which is precisely the point: it envelops the numinous and the sacred.

The reader will note how Doctor Horovitz avoids “cookbook” directives that counteract therapeutic recovery. Instead what is modeled is authentic expression and exploration of intrinsic goals under the gentle guidance of this therapist/educator. When the client enters this atmosphere where he or she can be authentic, the breathing slows down and deepens, the gaze softens and muscular tensions release.

The client enters a state where the parasympathetic nervous system takes over and there is no need to be in the fight or flight mode. Chapters highlight battling the psychosis that permeate psychiatric inpatient wards; the medicinal tool of phototherapy with diverse populations, disparate cases of physical and sexual abuse, domestic violence and their resolve; counseling of a former inmate/pedophile; working with incarcerated male offenders; contending with power struggles, attachment issues and the artistic trust of an emotionally disturbed deaf child; working within an interdisciplinary format with aphasia survivors, obtaining support from various industries; and finally it concludes with an account of an art therapy burn clinic for children and how a combined art therapy show with aphasia clients impacted the health and treatment of both populations.

These inspirational anecdotes will indeed inspire you, entice you, and intoxicate you with art. Imperfections, scars, trauma and disfigurement are replaced by love and art baring witness to the true healing: the HeArt of Therapy.


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