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The Art Therapy Working Alliance Inventory: the development of a measure

23 November 2018

New art therapy research by Michal Bat Or & Sigal Zilcha-Mano published in International Journal of Art Therapy: Inscape...

 

In verbal psychotherapy, a strong therapeutic alliance between client and therapist is necessary to achieve therapeutic goals. In art therapy, this alliance includes a third object: the art medium, comprised of art materials, artmaking and artworks.

In this study, we developed and tested a new questionnaire for art therapy service users which measures the client-art medium alliance formed in art therapy. The new questionnaire is based on the Working Alliance Inventory, a well-known measure used in psychotherapy (Horvath & Greenberg, 1989) and is called the Art Therapy-Working Alliance Inventory.

In order to measure the alliance between the client and the art medium, the Art Therapy-Working Alliance Inventory asks about three main areas: the client’s perception of the art medium as a therapeutic tool (Art-Task), the client’s affective experience of his/her artwork (Art Experience), and the client’s acceptance/rejection of the art-therapist’s interventions in the art medium (Art Therapist Acceptance).

We asked 104 art therapy students to assume the role of clients in simulated art therapy sessions and then fill out the questionnaire at the end. We found a strong association between the two alliance scores; in other words, the stronger the alliance between the client and the art therapist, the stronger the alliance between the client and the art medium.

Thus, we concluded that the Art Therapy-Working Alliance Inventory can serve as a useful tool in the research of art therapy practice.

This study by Michal Bat Or & Sigal Zilcha-Mano has been published by BAAT and Taylor & Francis in the International Journal of Art Therapy: Inscape here

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IJAT:Inscape is published by BAAT and Taylor & Francis