Title of ArticleArt for women’s sake: understanding feminist art therapy as didactic practice re-orientation
Type of ArticleConference Supplement Article
Author/sToni Wright and Karen Wright
ReferenceVolume 3, Conference Supplement, Article 5
Date of PublicationMarch 2013
KeywordsArt psychotherapy, critical praxis, feminist, intersectionality

Catalysed through the coming together of feminist theories that debate ‘the politics of difference’ and through a reflection on the practices of art psychotherapy, this paper seeks to illuminate the progressive and empowering nature that creative applications have for better mental health. It also seeks to critically expose and evaluate some of the marginalisation work that is also done within art psychotherapy practices, ultimately proposing a developmental practice activity and resource hub that will raise awareness, challenge traditional ways of thinking and doing, and provide a foundation for more inclusive practices. This paper’s introduction is followed by a contextualisation of art therapy and third wave feminisms, with suggestions of how those can work together towards better praxis. The main discussion is the presentation of a newly developed practitioner activity and resource hub that art therapists can use to evaluate their current and ongoing practice towards one of greater inclusivity and better reflexivity. Finally, in conclusion there will be a drawing together of what has been possible in feminist art psychotherapy, what remains possible, and with further alliances what more could yet be possible.

A video that accompanies this paper is available from: www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLLXVGiZQcU.

Implications for practice:

  • Supporting the growth of critically aware patients will enable service users to recognise the implications of difficulties in society at large influencing their wellbeing
  • More ‘critical patient’ therapy is likely to work more quickly, be more effective, and continually challenge the direction of practice development
  • The production and exhibition of more critically based art by service users will be a platform from where the voices of the socially marginalised can be meritoriously heard and listened to
  • Critical reflexivity within the profession opens up possibilities for changing the current make-up of practitioner demographics

This article by Toni Wright and Karen Wright is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 3.0 License.

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