1st Edition

Psychodynamic Art Therapy Practice with People on the Autistic Spectrum

    176 Pages 20 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    176 Pages 20 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Psychodynamic Art Therapy Practice with People on the Autistic Spectrum offers a valuable counterbalance to the phenomenological, cognitive and behavioural theories that currently prevail in the wider field of practice and research. The result of a decade of work by a group of highly experienced art therapists, this book presents eight frank and compelling accounts of art therapy with either adults or children with autism, supported by a discussion of the relevant theory.

    The book begins with an overview of the theoretical context and the subsequent chapters give varied accounts of practitioners’ experiences structured in a loose developmental arc, reflecting issues that may arise in different settings and at various stages of therapy. Each is followed by an afterword which describes the author’s reflections in the light of their subsequent knowledge and experience. The conclusion brings together some of the common threads arising from their encounters and considers how these might be relevant to current and continuing art therapy practice in the field of autism. Psychodynamic Art Therapy Practice with People on the Autistic Spectrum is a thoughtful consideration of where art therapy meets autism and the particular challenges that arise in the encounter between the autistic client and the therapist.

    Presenting honest reflections arising from lived encounters and highlighting general principles and experiences, this book aims to orient other practitioners who work with people on the autistic spectrum, in particular art therapists and art therapy trainees.

    Preface. Introduction. Dolphin, Frozen in Headlights: Working with Loss in Art Therapy with a Man with Asperger’s Syndrome. Ginsberg, Emptiness and Silence: Art Therapy with a Child with Autism. Wilson, A Group of Five Autistic Young Adults. Byers, Rhythm and Flow: Re-Thinking Art Therapy with an Autistic Young Man. Goldsmith, Images and Imagination: a Jungian Approach to Art Therapy with an Autistic Woman. Ashby, A Collaborative Art Therapy Approach. Jones, It is Joy to be Hidden but Disaster Not to be Found: Art Therapy with a Girl Diagnosed with Autism. Moore, Adolescence and Autonomy: Art Therapy with a Young Adult with Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Conclusion.


    Matt Dolphin has over 20 years' experience in social care and special education. He works with people with learning difficulties as an art therapist and visual arts lecturer and is a member of the British Association of Art Therapists.

    Angela Byers is an art therapist and group psychotherapist. At present she works in the NHS as an art therapy clinician, supervisor and manager. She was also a visiting tutor at Goldsmith's College, University of London.

    Alison Goldsmith worked as an art therapist in adult mental health services for some years and has taught on the MA art therapy course at the University of Hertfordshire. She has an MA in Jung and Post-Jungian Studies and is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist with experience in the NHS and private practice.

    Ruth E. Jones has worked with adults, children, families and organisations as an art therapist, psychotherapist, supervisor and consultant in the NHS, special education, charitable and private sectors since qualifying in the early 1990s.