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International Journal of Art Therapy, Volume 21, Issue 2, July 2016 is now available online

14 June 2016

Art Therapist and Journal Editor, Whittaker Scott tells us about the new issue of the International Journal of Art Therapy: Inscape...


Art Therapist and Journal Editor, Whittaker Scott tells us about the new issue of International Journal of Art Therapy: Inscape...

This issue presents four articles : one that describes the development of ‘Guidelines’ for anthroposophic art therapy; one that describes the development of principles of best practice for children and families; one that describes work with refugees; and one literature review of art therapy with veterans.

The article by Annemarie Abbing and colleagues describes an attempt to develop guidelines for anthroposophic art therapy. As the text acknowledges, this type of art therapy may be different to that practised by many readers – for example, it uses the term ‘diagnosis’ in a way that would be different to the practice of members of the British Association of Art Therapists. It nevertheless has relevance in showing how practitioners can address the potentially difficult issue of guideline development.

This is also the focus of the article by Elizabeth Taylor-Buck and Anthea Hendry. They describe the development of ‘Principles of Best Practice’. As with Annemarie Abbing et al.’s article, there is an attempt to gain the views of a number of clinicians and then to process this information into a coherent document. Both use the Delphi technique as part of their process. I am conscious that ‘Guidelines’ and ‘Principles of Best Practice’ can raise controversy. Readers may disagree on specific points and also have qualms about the idea of standardisation in a profession rich in art and psychodynamic theory which often privileges the specific, the individual, the mysterious and the un-nameable. I believe this is a crucial debate for the profession and I have had many art therapist friends and colleagues talk to me on the matter. As I pointed out in my previous editorial (Scott, 2016), there are different views on art therapy and different ways of writing about them. As Editor I am happy to correspond with potential authors who would like to enquire about the suitability of their work for IJAT: Inscape.

Alison Smith provides a literature review of art therapy with veterans, adding to the work published in IJAT: Inscape by Kopytin and Lebedev (2015) and in the previous issue of IJAT: Inscape by Loban (2016). The area of art therapy with people who have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or with war veterans appears to continue to grow as an area of study.

The article by Debra Kalmanowitz on art therapy with refugees also shows work with people who have described terrible experiences of violence. She describes how the concept of mindfulness was used in that context. She gives a voice to the clients’ experiences of the art therapy process and helps us understand something of what this may have meant to them. It should be of interest to clinicians working with such a client group as well as those who are using, or thinking about using mindfulness ideas in their work. The article also describes a relatively short-term intervention (compared with many art therapy groups) and so gives further evidence of how such an approach can be implemented.

The article by Sarah Parkinson and Claire Whiter describes art therapy with a group of young adults experiencing first episode psychosis. It considers this in the context of the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines and the Initiative to Reduce the Impact of Schizophrenia (IRIS). It should therefore be relevant to the many art therapists who work in this field and offers a contribution to the ongoing debate on this subject. It also includes service user perspectives which add depth to our understanding of the work.

I am conscious that IJAT has various functions, one of which is showing international art therapy work while also being related to the British Association of Art Therapists. I believe this calls for some balance and that there is perhaps some inherent tension. I hope that this issue shows that the International Journal of Art Therapy continues to perform both these functions.

Finally I would like to alert readers to the forthcoming new practitioners essay prize. The closing date is 31 December 2016 so please get writing now. Joy Chong was the winner in the previous competition and her work was published in IJAT: Inscape Volume 20, Issue 3, November 2015. This is a great opportunity. Please see the call for papers in this issue.

All BAAT members can access all IJAT: Inscpae articles through the Publications page in the members area of the BAAT website here

Everyone is welcome to join BAAT as an associate member if they are not an Art Therapist here

You can see the journal on Taylor & Francis Online here

1. Kopytin, A., & Lebedev, A. (2015). Therapeutic functions of humour in group art therapy with war veterans. International Journal of Art Therapy, 20(2), 40–53. doi: 10.1080/17454832.2014.1000348 [Taylor & Francis Online]
2. Loban, J. (2016). Factors that influence engagement in an inpatient art therapy group for veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. International Journal of Art Therapy, 21(1), 15–22. doi: 10.1080/17454832.2015.1124899 [Taylor & Francis Online]
3. Scott, W. (2016). EDITORIAL. International Journal of Art Therapy, 21(1), 1. doi: 10.1080/17454832.2016.1126082 [Taylor & Francis Online]