Processes of change in school-based art therapy with children: a systematic qualitative study

Deboys, Rachel, Holttum, S. and Wright, K. (2016) Processes of change in school-based art therapy with children: a systematic qualitative study. International Journal of Art Therapy, 21 (3). pp. 1-14. ISSN 1745-4832.

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Although theoretical processes of art therapy with children have been suggested, they have lacked a systematic research basis. This systematic qualitative study explored children’s school-based one-to-one art therapy in order to create a theory of change. Across two primary schools, 14 children were interviewed individually, as were their parents, teachers and art therapists (total N = 40). All children had received art therapy within the previous 12 months. Children completed an art activity to aid the interview process. Interview data were analysed using grounded theory methodology. The analysis generated a preliminary model with three components. ‘Component 1—school context’ highlights the systemic nature of art therapy as well as its mystique to those not directly involved. ‘Component 2—core model’ describes art therapy as individualised and child-centred. Art-doing and making were considered central to children’s expression and developing understandings. ‘Component 3—change and no change’ describes the connection between identifying therapy aims and perceiving change. Recommendations are that art therapy be considered for children struggling to verbalise their difficulties; that therapists focus on therapeutic experiences being fun and enjoyable for the child, as well as embedded within the child’s system; and lastly that clear target problems are identified at the start of therapy.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Art therapy, primary school, children, grounded theory, qualitative
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0435 Psychiatry > RC0475 Therapeutics. Psychotherapy > RC0489 Arts therapy
Divisions: Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > School of Psychology, Politics and Sociology > Salomons Centre for Applied Psychology
Depositing User: Dr Sue Holttum
Date Deposited: 05 Jan 2017 16:53
Last Modified: 28 Dec 2017 03:23

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00