1st Edition

Art Therapy and Childbearing Issues Birth, Death, and Rebirth

Edited By Nora Swan-Foster Copyright 2021
    316 Pages 65 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    316 Pages 65 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This text introduces readers to the diverse and unique ways art therapy is used with women who are undergoing various stages of the childbearing process, including conception, pregnancy, miscarriage, childbirth, and postpartum.

    Art Therapy and Childbearing Issues discusses a range of topics including the role of transference/countertransference, attachment and maternal tasks, and neuropsychology. The book also addresses several motifs that are outside cultural norms of pregnancy and childbearing, such as racial sociopolitical issues, grief and loss, palliative care, midwifery, menstruation, sex-trafficking, disadvantaged populations, and incarceration. Each chapter offers research, modalities, case studies and suggestions on how to work in this field in a new way, accompanied by visual representations of different therapy methods and practices.

    The approachable style will appeal to a range of readers who will come away with a new awareness of art therapy and a greater knowledge of how to work with women as they enter and exit this universal, psychobiological experience.


    List of Contributors


    Matrescence (Aurélie Athan)


    1. Introduction: Background Considerations for Childbearing Issues and Art Therapy (Swan-Foster)
    2. Part I: Art Therapy: Pregnancy

    3. The Juxtaposition of Rupture and Repair: Exploring Trauma and Resilience with Women on the Paths of Childbearing, Birth and Motherhood. (Denise Wolf and Juliet King)
    4. Prenatal Art Therapy and Feminine Initiation (Nora Swan-Foster)
    5. Supervising the Pregnant Art Therapist: Integrating Reflective Developmental and Arts-based Supervision Approaches (Rebecca Miller)
    6. Using Art to Prepare for Births as a Doula-Grandmother (Jane Margaret Hunt)
    7. Part II: Art Therapy: Postpartum

    8. Going On Being: Losing and Finding a New Identity in the Early Phases of Treatment with Postpartum Mothers. (Linda Siegel)
    9. Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder: Processing Trauma Through Couples’ Art Therapy (Alison Silver)
    10. Part III: Art Therapy: Grief and Loss

    11. Cultivating Aliveness after Pregnancy Loss: Somatic Art Therapy, Ritual and Grief Work (Merryl Rothaus)
    12. Honoring The Process: Art Therapy with Mothers of Pediatric Palliative Care Patients (Mary K. Kometiani and Katherine Holbrook)
    13. Motherhood Rounds It Out: Art Therapy with Mothers Without Mothers (Valerie Epstein-Johnson)
    14. The Use of Japanese Ritual and Art Therapy in Healing from Pregnancy Loss (Ellen Speert)
    15. Part IV: Art Therapy: Special Topics of Childbearing Women

    16. Where it all Begins: Anthropology as a Method for Engaging with Menstruation and Uncovering Art Therapy Explorations (Fiona Foster)
    17. Penalizing More Than One: Art Therapy with Prison Inmates Struggling with Pregnancy, Birth and Motherhood (Casey Barlow, Shannon Schmitz, David Gussak)
    18. Art Therapy and Huecos—The Art Therapy Space for Undocumented Latina Mothers (Paula De Oliveira Santos)
    19. Infertility to Motherhood: Collective voices in art therapy challenge Social? constructs (Mary Andrus)
    20. Addressing Motherhood Issues of Sex Trafficking Survivors Through Art Therapy (Mary K. Kometiani)

    Appendices 1, 2, 3, 4



    Nora Swan-Foster, MA, LPC, ATR-BC, NCPsyA is a Jungian analyst and Jungian art therapist in private practice in Boulder, Colorado. Nora is co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Analytical Psychology and is the author of Jungian Art Therapy.

    Judith Rubin:

    As a woman who experienced trauma in childbirth when medicine was blind to its impact, I welcome this book.  As a mother whose daughter’s survival was precarious during pregnancy, I welcome this book. As an art therapist who has treated many women becoming parents, I thank Nora Swan-Foster for editing it.

    Judith A. Rubin, PhD, ATR-BC, HLM, president, Expressive Media; Author, Introduction to Art Therapy; The Art of Art Therapy

    Selena Shelley:

    Picture a web, woven together by the intricacies of childbirth. That is what you will find in this anthology… a unique collection of knowledge, insight, and the reality of childbirth in present-day America. Without question, Swan-Foster has managed the extraordinary – bringing together critical information and perspectives for every art therapist, therapist, feminist, and/or practitioner who wants to better understand both the beauty and struggle of the perinatal period.

    Selena Shelley, MA, LMHC – Psychotherapist, When Survivors Give Birth Trainer, & adjunct faculty in the Department of Midwifery at Bastyr University

    Michelle Dean:

    Art therapy and childbearing issues elegantly restores the childbirth process from one of a medically oriented procedure to its rightful place as a vital cosmic and archetypal experience – a profound threshold for the child and parents. The authors thoughtfully contribute their diverse perspectives, which bring forth a wealth of knowledge for the reader. Swan-Foster’s text masterfully infuses the richness of participation in a primordial experience with contemporaneous relevance, a text sure to appeal to art therapists, students, and other mental health clinicians interested in the intersection of imagery and the emergent process of art and life.

    Michelle L. Dean, MA, ATR-BC, LPC, CGP, Art Therapy Program director at Cedar Crest College, co-founder & director of The Center for Psyche & the Arts, LLC, and author of Using Art Media in Psychotherapy. 

    Gayle Peterson:

    Swan-Foster is an organizing voice in the wilderness of women’s political and psychic needs. These authors not only know the experience of art and its transformative value, but also bring this knowledge to women’s growth and development at the crux of the childbearing and mothering experience. Art Therapy and Childbearing Issues is a must read for anyone working in the field, and an inspiring read to the lay person as well.

    Gayle Peterson, LCSW, PhD is author of Birthing Normally, An Easier Childbirth and Making Healthy Families. Gayle directs the training certification program "Peterson Childbirth Method" and has a private practice in Berkeley, CA.

    Sondra Geller:

    Art Therapy and Childbearing Issues is a comprehensive collection of writings by outstanding scholars in the field. This timely book is superbly edited by Swan-Foster, a Jungian Analyst, Art Therapist and specialist working with the archetypal/initiatory experiences of women and how identity is solidified by the full circle of matrescence, a term borrowed from anthropology. Swan-Foster’s expertise as an Art Therapist comes across in her selection of contributors with their breadth and depth of topics that show the value of using the expressive arts in work with all aspects of childbearing. This book is an invaluable contribution to the field that will leave the reader wanting more.

    Sondra Geller, MA, LPC, ATR-BC, Jungian Analyst and Board Certified Art Therapist in private practice in Washington, DC.

    Gussie Klorer:

    Art Therapy and Childbearing Issues focuses on the very beginning: pregnancy, birth, postpartum, loss, palliative care, and mothering. As a trauma therapist working with very young abused children, I found the focus on early intervention immensely practical and hopeful as a preventative tool for a myriad of complex issues that expectant mothers face. 

    Gussie Klorer, PhD, ATR-BC, LCSW, LCPC, HLM, professor emeritus, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Author: Expressive Therapies with Traumatized Children and Expressive Therapy with Troubled Children.

    Teresa Robertson:

    Art Heals! Within the art of midwifery care, the Midwife listens deeply to guide and empower the client /family through their life transitions. Midwife means with women. What you are holding in your hands is a cutting edge treasure written by Art Therapist Midwives. It simply and powerfully elucidates how art therapy is the quintessential trauma informed, survivor led healing modality. This book reveals holistic and inclusive tools that will enable you to nourish and sustain your clients as they give birth to themselves on their journey to thriving.

    Teresa Robertson CNM-BC, MS, RN, SANE, adjunct clinical professor, Human Trafficking, Denver College of Nursing.

    Aurélie Athan:

    This text will surely be used in my own classroom as an example of how to use destigmatizing and agentic approaches that help mothers to explore, cope with, and shape their destinies for generations to come.

    Aurélie Athan, PhD, Teachers College, Columbia University, Department of Counseling & Clinical Psychology, Reproductive & Maternal Wellbeing Certificate, New York, NY

    Maude Davis:

    As it stands, I believe this volume is a truly valuable asset to Jungian clinicians, art therapists and students training in these fields. It provides many examples of art therapy processes—visual journalling, mandalas, body casts and more.

    Maude Davis, C.G. Jung Institute, Zürich, Journal of Analytical Psychology