Response Art

Through this past week’s assigned chapters – an aspect of art therapy I have never really heard of before was mentioned. As the art therapist and client/patient build their trusting relationship, it is usually seen that only one side of the relationship does the art making. This new (to me) can strengthen and deepen the strong relationship between the two. Response art is for the therapist to create their own visual representation of their understanding of the client’s experiences.

The case examples presented in the textbook were extremely touching and seem to give great support for response art. A young, male child became a ward of the state at an early age in his life because of an abusive relationship with his parents. He believed that contact with his parents would be the only way to work out his problems with them. As this boy vented to the therapist about this family problem, the art therapist picked up her color pencils and drew her interpretation of his rage and her understanding of his issue. After the art therapist showed her client her representation, the client immediately felt understood and heard. “Making response art does not ensure positive treatment outcomes; however, it can help both the therapist and client deal with interpersonal challenges, clearing the way for more effective work.” These descriptives about this case and how beneficial it can be really caught my eye. The consideration of presenting your own response art to the client never came across my mind until reading this part in our chapter.

As the quote from the book states, response art may not always be the best option for a positive outcome, but when appropriately used, it can make the relationship so much stronger between the client and art therapist. I am now looking forward to the future opportunity to use response art to help benefit both the client and myself.

If interested in more about this, the class textbook is the 3rd edition of “Approaches to Art Therapy” by Judith Aron Rubin!

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