Drawing Out The Self



This book describes how the Objective Approach to Art Therapy was developed by Selwyn and Irene Dewdney, a husband and wife team, who began their work with patients at psychiatric hospitals in London, Ontario, in the 1940s. Their art therapy approach grew out of certain philosophical, artistic and social influences (which are explained in Chapter 2). Over several decades, these initial ideas were challenged and refined, as they worked with hundreds of clients, students of art therapy, and other health care providers. The approach continues to grow organically, on through to the present day.

Chapters 7 and 8 of this book provide detailed explanations of how therapists may use thie Objective Approach with clients. Those chapters include examples of several kinds of drawing assignments that we have found to be most effective.  The book includes over 40 drawings by patients and clients.

Chapters 2 and 7 explain what is “objective” about our approach, and why that matters. Chapters 5 and 6 describe two other techniques that are also integral to the approach. Memory Retrieval (Chapter 6) is a drawing technique that helps clients to remember more about themselves and their families, as they delineate the  house where they lived as a child or other important places from their past.  Picture Projection (Chapter 5) is a useful tool with groups, which helps to remind people – clients and therapists - that everyone projects their own feelings and experiences on to much of what they see around them, including their relations with other people.  The last chapter provides a case study of 10 sessions with an actual client, using the techniques described in earlier chapters.

This book is intended for student and professional art therapists, as well as other therapists and psychology professionals who are interested in the value of visual communications. Non-professionals who want to investigate the interesting connections between visual and verbal insight will also find the book interesting.