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Why art psychotherapy? Through the lens of interpersonal neurobiology: The distinctive role of art psychotherapy..

12 December 2018

This article written by Chui Yee Joy Chong, is one of the most read articles ever published in International Journal of Art Therapy: Inscape and was the winner of the 2014-2016 New Practitioner Essay Prize...


This article aims to broaden and deepen the current understanding of art psychotherapy intervention with early relational trauma, through a consilient investigation of neuroscience findings, developmental theories and psychodynamic views, with the heuristic illustration of clinical vignettes.

Clinical vignettes will be drawn upon from the author's ontological position as an art psychotherapy trainee with the clinical experience of working with children fleeing from domestic violence, as well as adults in a secure forensic psychiatry setting with a history of childhood abuse.

The neurobiological and psycho-physiological underpinning of the pathology of early relational trauma will be examined, leading to the identification of major treatment challenges commonly encountered within the context of psychological intervention.

Responding to these challenges, this interdisciplinary investigation proposes that art psychotherapy poses uniquely advantageous qualities in filling these gaps, in contrast to other therapeutic interventions, especially in contrast to those of a verbal and cognitive behavioural nature.

Such an investigation aims to provide further insights into the formulation of the clinical practice of art psychotherapy, as well as to inspire practitioners in maximising and emphasising the dimension of art, distinctive to art psychotherapy, offered to this client group.

This article by Chui Yee Joy Chong has been made free access until 31st March 2019 here


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IJAT:Inscape is published by BAAT and Taylor & Francis