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Synopsis

The field of art therapy is discovering that artistic expression can be a powerful means of personal transformation and emotional and spiritual healing. In this book, Shaun McNiff, a leader in expressive arts therapy for more than three decades, reflects on a wide spectrum of activities aimed at reviving art's traditional healing function. In chapters ranging from "Liberating Creativity" and "The Practice of Creativity in the Workplace" to "From Shamanism to Art Therapy," he illuminates some of the most progressive views in the rapidly expanding field of art therapy:

  • The "practice of imagination" as a powerful force for transformation
  • A challenge to literal-minded psychological interpretations of artworks ("black colors indicate depression") and the principle that even disturbing images have inherent healing properties
  • The role of the therapist in promoting an environment conducive to free expression and therapeutic energies
  • The healing effects of group work, with people creating alongside one another and interacting in the studio
  • "Total expression," combining arts such as movement, storytelling, and drumming with painting and drawing

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