Abstract Imagery in Art Therapy

Hanes, M.J. (1998). Abstract imagery in art therapy: What does it mean? Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, 15(3), 185-190.

Abstract: There are times, either when the client initially comes to art therapy or at a later stage, that he or she will produce abstract imagery. Rarely can this phenomenon be attributed to any one cause; rather it is usually the result of several motivation factors occurring simultaneously. The author explores some of these factors and presents examples of abstract imagery produced by patients who participated in art therapy while in an acute inpatient psychiatric hospital. The examples illustrate that abstract imagery an serve not only a defensive purpose, but also a progressive function, as well.

Behind Steel Doors

Hanes, M.J. (2005). Behind steel doors: Images from the walls of a county jail. Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, 22(1), pp. 44-48.

Abstract: The compulsion and capacity for self-expression in penal institutions can be witnessed through the endless production of such creations as wall murals, graffiti, effigies, adornments, decorative envelopes, and tattoos. The intent of this paper is to examine the self-directed expressive endeavors of male residents at a county jail. The examples illustrate how the inmates, despite their impoverished and restrictive environment, were able to employ the image-making process as a means of enduring and adjusting to life circumstances within the jail environment. Several themes emerged; however, due to the limited scope of this paper, discussion is restricted to the themes of time, escape, anger, and redemption.

Catharsis in Art Therapy

Hanes, M. J. (2000). Catharsis in art therapy: A case study of sexually abused adolescent. American Journal of Art Therapy, 38(3), 70-74.

Abstract: This case study discusses the use of catharsis in art therapy with a 16-year-old female who had been sexually abused by her stepfather. The client employed art materials to produce an effigy of her abuser, which she fastened to an altar and repeatedly stabbed with sharpened pencils. That enactment provided an outlet for latent emotions and aggressive drives which could not be expressed in daily life. Rather than intervening or diverting her process, I supported the opportunity to discharge pent-up emotions stemming from her abusive experiences. I discuss how catharsis was part of a broader therapeutic context that included both emotional and cognitive components.

Circus Character Drawing

Hanes, M.J. (1997). Utilizing the circus phenomenon as a drawing theme in art therapy. The Arts in Psychotherapy: An International Journal, 24(4), 375-384.

Abstract: In this paper, I assert that the circus phenomenon can be used as a drawing directive in art therapy. I begin by providing a brief review of widely accepted drawing directives that have been incorporated into the individual evaluation of children and adults. I discuss the theoretical principles and rationale for circus drawings, as well as the procedure for administering the task. I present examples produced by clients who participated in art therapy while hospitalized in acute inpatient psychiatric settings. The examples illustrate how circus drawings can be used to elicit conscious and unconscious processes which are viewed by the client as disturbing, unusual, or challenging. In addition, the circus performers' strive for mastery served as a metaphor for the clients' capacity to persevere life's mishaps and the will to master the struggles of everyday life.

Clinical Application of the Scribble Drawing

Hanes, M.J. (1995). Clinical application of the "scribble technique" with adults in an acute inpatient psychiatric hospital. Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, 12(2), 111-117.

Abstract: The "scribble technique" described in Florence Cane's book, The Artist in Each of Us, (1983) has historically been employed by art therapists as a technique to reduce inhibitions and liberate spontaneous imagery from the unconscious. The author reviews the "scribble technique" procedure and presents examples produced by adult patients in an acute inpatient psychiatric hospital. The examples illustrate how the "scribble technique" can be utilized to empower the client to produce spontaneous imagery from the unconscious and overcome apprehension toward the image-making process.

Face to Face with Addiction

Hanes, M. J. (2007). Face to face with addiction: The spontaneous production of self-portraits in art therapy. Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, 24(1), 33-36.

In this brief report, two examples are presented of self-portraits spontaneously produced by chemically dependent patients who participated in art therapy while in an acute inpatient hospital. The author concludes that self-portraits provide a true-to-life representations of the diseased aspects of the self and enable patients to confront their addictive nature.

House as Mirror of Self

Hanes, M. J. (2019). House as a mirror of self: A case study of a twenty-one-year-old female in an inpatient psychiatric hospital. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 66(4).

The concept of house has been universally significant since its development some 8500 years ago. Its mythic and metaphoric meaning permeates the language, art, poetry, and music of virtually all cultures. Yet, contemporary art therapy literature has focused little on the significance and meaning of house imagery when it emerges as a choice of subject matter in the image making process. I present this case study in the hope that it will inspire the reader to think further and more deeply about the house should it emerge as an impromptu theme in art therapy. I provide a brief introduction of a 21-year-old African American female followed by a discussion of her artwork - the construction of what she described as her dream home and its various elements presented as a symbol of her ego-self and reflected how she viewed herself both as an individual and in relation to the outside world.

Messy Mixtures in Art Therapy

Hanes, M.J. (1997). Producing messy mixtures in art therapy: A case study of a sexually abused child. American Journal of Art Therapy, 35(3), 70-73.

Abstract: This article presents a brief introduction of a 6-year-old child followed by a discussion of her artwork-a series of what she described as messy packages produced in art therapy sessions a 6-week period during an inpatient psychiatric stay. The child repeatedly used art materials to produce a messy mixture that she then spread over a sheet of paper, folded, and ultimately placed in a sealed box for safekeeping. Rather than intervening in or diverting from this process, the art therapist allowed the child's sense of chaos and provided her an opportunity to address her feelings and to create a "holding form" where confusing and unsettled emotions could be handled and examined.

Retrospective Review in Art Therapy

Hanes, M. J. (2001). Retrospective review in art therapy: Creating a visual record of the therapeutic process. American Journal of Art Therapy, 40(20, 149-160.

Abstract: Among the unique attributes of art therapy has been the ability to retain a lasting reminder of each session through the creation of an art product. The permanent and enduring quality of the art has offered notable contributions to the continuity and recapitulation of the therapeutic process. Accordingly, two vignettes demonstrate how retrospective review of art work allowed patient and therapist to view the therapy as it unfolded. By reviewing the art chronologically, patients and therapist were able to identify links and emerging patterns which might not have been apparent had artwork been viewed separately. Furthermore, the patient's artwork served as a permanent record of the therapeutic process and provided tangible evidence of the patient's recovery.

Road to Recovery

Hanes, M. J. (2017). Road to recovery: Road drawings in a gender-specific residential substance use treatment center. Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, 34(4), 201-208.

In this article, I discuss the benefits of using road drawings in art therapy for the specialized treatment of women in a gender-specific residential substance use treatment center. Gender differences in substance use treatment are explained and the benefits of using art therapy is the treatment of substance use disorders are reviewed. The rationale and procedure for administering road drawings is provided with case examples to illustrate how road drawings address the complex constellation of interdependent biopsychosocial factors that comprise women's specialized treatment needs. Road drawings appear to help clients gain insight into a path of recovery and provide a metaphor for their capacity for change. They are also useful as a informal assessment, offering insights into substance use and psychological state.

Signs of Suicide

Hanes, M. J. (2008). Signs of suicide: Using road drawings with inmates on suicide observation at a county jail. Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, 25(2), 78-84.

Suicide is a leading cause of death in jails. This article discusses the use of road drawings as part of a clinical interview by an art therapist to evaluate an inmate’s risk for self-harm. Following an overview of suicide in correctional settings, the rationale and procedure for administering road drawings are explained. Examples produced by inmates who were placed on suicide watch illustrate how road drawings can access personal history, mental and emotional states, and behavioral patterns that may put a person at risk for suicide. The road also may function as a therapeutic metaphor for an inmate's capacity for change and restoration.

Utilizing Road Drawings

Hanes, M.J. (1995). Utilizing road drawings as a therapeutic metaphor in art therapy. American Journal of Art Therapy, 34(1), 19-23.

Abstract: Roads have been universally significant since their development some 5,000 years ago. Their mythic and metaphoric meaning has permeated the language, art, poetry, and music of virtually all cultures. In this paper I asset that road drawings can be a therapeutic metaphor in art therapy. I explain the procedure for administering road drawings and present case examples produced by patients who participated in art therapy while in an acute inpatient psychiatric hospital. These examples illustrate how road drawings can be used to elicit spontaneous imagery that represents the client's origins, the history of his or her life, experiences to date, and intent for the future - even from just a single drawing. The periodic reparation or upgrade of the road serves as a metaphor for the client's capacity for change.

Modified Bridge Drawings

Hanes, M.J. (2021). Journal of the American Art Therapy Association

Abstract: This article presents a modified version of the bridge drawing assessment administered to a substance use disorder population at admission and discharge from a residential addiction treatment center. Following an overview of the bridge drawing assessment and method, the authors present two case descriptions that illustrate how the modified task enabled clients to visualize and understand their transition process, as well obstacles they were less consciously aware of, such as fears and de-motivators. Equally, clients' strengths, aptitudes, and hopes were brought into more conscious awareness.



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