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Art therapists creating art - alongside, with and for service users

The course will outline the implications for theory and practice of creating art: alongside; with; and for service users. The ethical considerations and appropriateness of these ways of working will be examined and guidance offered for use within art therapy practice. Participants will also engage with experiential work and consider the experience from the perspectives of both service user and therapist.

Saturday 19th February 2022

10:00am - 16:00pm


Delivered via Zoom, information for the day & invite to join will be sent once booking has closed

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**This course is open to all who wish to attend from the UK and Internationally**

There is an expectation within art therapy practice that service users will create artwork and talk about this within sessions, however, for a variety of reasons some are unwilling or unable to make art, despite the expectation that they do so. Engaging with art materials can be an exciting new challenge for some service users, but for others it can be an insurmountable obstacle, and often no amount of reassurance that they don’t need to be ‘good at art’ will suffice.


These sessions then become reliant on ‘talking therapy’, which, while beneficial in its own way, is not the point of art therapy and does not harness the power of art to transform meanings and experience. By creating art alongside, with or for service users (Carr, 2018), art therapists can reintroduce the creative, imaginative process of co-designing and viewing self-referential images, into what would otherwise be artistically barren therapeutic encounters (Carr 2014: 54).


From ‘response art’ (Fish 2012), to co-production, this course seeks to extend opportunities and knowledge by underlining the importance and empowering nature of collaborative working and art as a relational encounter (Springham & Huet 2018), as well as highlighting the importance of the art object within the process of ‘mirroring and attunement’ (Wright 2009).


The course will consider the role of the art object as a vital component in the process of ‘mirroring and attunement’ (Wright 2009). Wright’s theory develops and connects Klein’s (1952) object relations theory, Winnicott’s (1971) mirroring, with Stern’s (1985) notions about attunement, and applies them to the artist and the art object, facilitating a unique way of understanding the self. The use of metaphor and symbolism will also be considered, as well as the value of aesthetics and humour within the therapeutic encounter.


Once theory and context have been established, a range of creative and experiential techniques and tools will be taught and discussed.


On completion of this course you will be able to:

· Describe art therapy interventions that make use of the art therapist’s own art making and its place in art therapy theory and practice.


· Understand the process of ‘mirroring and attunement’ that takes place when making response art for service users and its use within the art therapy encounter.


· Consider the ethics of using the art therapist’s own art making within groups and individual sessions with clients, through painting alongside, with or for service users.


· Use one’s own artistic skills to develop and extend one’s art therapy practice by using response art techniques and interventions.


Dr Susan Carr is an art therapist, artist, and researcher, who has published articles in academic journals, presented papers at national and international conferences and exhibited in major exhibitions. Since completing her PhD in December 2015 Susan has written a book of her thesis entitled Portrait Therapy, exploring the theory and practice behind her development of this innovative intervention (published 2018 by Jessica Kingsley). In 2017 Susan’s PhD work attracted a grant from the Arts Council England, to stage the first major exhibition of this work (38 portraits), at Swindon Museum and Art Gallery. Susan is also Co-Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Art Therapy and a Director of Council for the British Association of Art Therapists. Susan has 12 years’ experience of working as an art therapist in palliative care and now works in private practice. 

Additional Information:

Please Note:

Booking closes 1-week prior to start date. Information and link to join the day will be sent once booking has closed.


Trainee BAAT Member: £100.00


x3 Reduced Rate for Trainees or Unemployed Members: £75.00

Please Note: We can not reserve reduced rate places.


Full Unemployed or Retired Member: £100.00


Full Underemployed Member: £110.00


Full Member (Self Funded): £120.00


Associate Member: £120.00


Employer Funded BAAT Members: £165.00


Non-BAAT Member (Self or Employer Funded): £195.00


Please create a Free Booking Account if you don't have one or are not a member, here:


Employer Funded places for members or non-members, please download a course booking form here: Invoice Request Form - Course Booking Form.docx

Completed Booking Forms (with purchase order number and BAAT booking account number), please email to:


Please Note: We do not accept employer funded bookings without an employer purchase order.


Convenors: Susan M Carr

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