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Observing Mentalizing Art Therapy Groups For People Diagnosed With Borderline Personality Disorder

24 November 2019

This article by Neil Springham and Paul M. Camic describes a video-based observation of three mentalization-based treatment (MBT) art therapy groups in services for people who have received a diagnosis of personality disorder...

 

This article describes video-based observation of three mentalization-based treatment (MBT) art therapy groups in services for people who have received a diagnosis of personality disorder. Four focus groups (service user researchers, MBT trained psychologists, MBT trained art therapists, and the three art therapists who submitted videos) developed descriptions of the practice they observed on video. A grounded theory method was used to develop a proposition that if the art therapist uses art to demonstrate their attention, this tends to help potentially chaotic and dismissive groups to cooperate, whereas if the art therapist gives the appearance of passivity, it tends to increase the problematic interactions in the group.

The study presented here examined art therapy group practice in three mentalization-based treatment (MBT) programmes within secondary care in the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS). These programmes offer intensive psychological therapy for people who have received a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder (BPD). The full structure, aims and outcomes of MBT programmes are described by Bateman and Fonagy (2016), but for clarity it is relevant to specifically highlight that such programmes operate on a rolling entry basis, where individual service users start and finish an 18-month stay at different points within an ongoing group. The approach, outcomes and service user experience of including art therapy in an MBT programme have been described by Springham, Findlay, Woods, and Harris (2012) and the art therapy groups featured in the present study operated as per that study. All programmes featured in the present study had been running for a minimum of four years so were well established.


This article
 by Neil Springham and Paul M. Camic has been made FREE ACCESS until 31st December 2019 here

 

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