Understanding the image in art therapy : a phenomenological-hermeneutic investigation

Douglas, Blanche Daw (2000) Understanding the image in art therapy : a phenomenological-hermeneutic investigation. PhD thesis, Rhodes University.




Part One of the research seeks to establish a context wherein certain assumptions pertaining to the interpretative dimensions of understanding the image in art therapy can be considered and reviewed. Notions about the image, meaning and reality are discussed both in terms of how they relate to current art therapy practice, and how they may be alternatively thought about, both from the perspective of ancient Hellenic Greek thought, and more contemporary thought, particularly that of phenomenological and philosophical-hermeneutics. Part Two of the research investigates the phenomenon of understanding the image in an art therapy situation, with a view to reconsidering certain of the assumptions raised in the first part of the thesis (phrased in the form of research questions). It did this utilizing a qualitative method, by exposing four respondents (patients), and two therapists to an art therapy situation in which images were created out of clay. The respondents (patients) and therapists articulated their understanding of the image production procedure, and the meaning of the images created. The way understanding occurred in the empirical part of the research was explained and illustrated by means of the hermeneutic circle, which was operational on a number of different levels. The results of the research suggest that the meaning of the image in art therapy is a creative synthesis, which emerges from within a dialectics of exchange. This exchange involves a number of meaning-generating contexts, of which the patient’s experience, and the therapist’s knowledge, form only a part. The outcome of this exchange is the derived meaning of the image, which represents a ‘fictional’ world that gives the patient and therapist a way of understanding the patient’s situation. The process of the research, which investigates the way understanding of the image in art therapy occurs, is at the same time, an application of the principles of understanding

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Art therapy; image
Subjects:B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Humanities > Psychology
Supervisors:Kelly, Kevin (Dr.)
ID Code:1758
Deposited By: Mrs Carol Perold
Deposited On:06 Sep 2010 09:39
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:21
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