1st Edition

Social Action Art Therapy in a Time of Crisis

By Jamie Bird Copyright 2023
    168 Pages 16 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    168 Pages 16 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Social Action Art Therapy in a Time of Crisis outlines theories and models of social action art therapy, identifies its application in times of crisis, and explores the ways in which art therapy can work effectively for individuals and groups experiencing crisis.

    Drawing upon various ecologies, climate psychology, and eco-art therapy, this book addresses various responses to climate change, including notions of belonging, the physicality of experience, and the role of imagination in creating alternative versions of the future. The author presents a social action approach to art therapy as a way of addressing the political and collective components of climate change as well as the individual and emotional components. To help explore what social action art therapy can offer in this time of crisis, the author illustrates examples that show how the ideas have been used in other moments of crisis, including asylum, refuge, and domestic abuse.

    This innovative book contributes to the development of contemporary art therapy practice and will be of interest to arts therapists, arts psychotherapists, expressive therapists, ecotherapists, ecopsychologists, arts-based researchers, and many more.

    1. Introduction  2. Social action art therapy, ecotherapy, and arts-based research methods 3. Belonging, imagination, and modernity  4. Violence, asylum, and refuge  5. Climate crisis  6. Conclusion     Appendix: Example workshop plans


    Dr Jamie Bird is a senior lecturer and researcher based at the University of Derby, United Kingdom. He is an associate editor of the International Journal of Art Therapy.

    'The topic of social injustice and its potential exacerbation and amplification in relation to the climate crisis is an important topic for art therapists to consider. Dr Bird suggests that the twin concepts of reflexivity and intersectionality are of crucial importance at this pivotal time. Bird notes a strand of art therapy which produces reductive narratives of deviancy and normality embedded in an atomised Capitalism which fails to properly acknowledge the communal and social aspects of experience, including environment. This book challenges our own ethics and practice. It challenges us, as a body of practitioners, to think about where we stand on the big issues of the day. I recommend it.'

    Dr Susan Hogan, Ph.D, D.Litt, Professor of Arts and Health at the University of Derby, College of Arts, Humanities and Education. Professorial Fellow, Institute of Mental Health, Nottingham.

    'Social action art therapy in times of crisis places the work of art therapy within an ecological and environmental context. The approaches described supports the reader to critically engage with the way that we think about the crisis we are living in and places the arts therapies within a socially engaged paradigm. The book shows how the use of art-based research and art therapy practice can contribute to making emotional sense of the climate crisis.'

    Gary Nash, Dip AT, MAAT, is a HCPC registered art therapist. Gary co-founded the London Art Therapy Centre in 2009, where he is a practitioner-researcher. He is a visiting lecturer at the Institute for Arts in Therapy and Education and the University of Hertfordshire. He is co-editor of Environmental Arts Therapy, Routledge, 2020.