• How art therapists view the effects of and importance of various materials used in art therapy: An exploratory study using IPA

      Mason-Whitehead, Elizabeth; Johnson, Amy (University of Chester, 2013-03)
      I sought to understand the effects and implications of certain materials in art therapy. I was struck by the lack of research on this topic in contrast to the high volume of theory. I began to question the beliefs that art therapists had here. I aimed to ‘Explore ways in which art therapists view the effects and importance of various materials in art therapy’. I conducted semi-structured interviews with two art therapists, one male and one female. The interviews were analysed using IPA. Seven superordinate themes were identified; three of these were further investigated: ‘Reflecting upon art therapy research’, ‘The blurred role of the art therapist’ and ‘The importance of what is being communicated by use and selection of art materials’. The results validated the importance of research on materials; highlighted many ways in which clients may communicate with art materials and demonstrated the breadth of art therapists differing views on their role in relation to materials. The four themes not further investigated were: ‘The core box of materials’; ‘Striking a balance when providing materials to clients’, ‘The art therapists own preferences towards materials and implications of this’ and ‘Associations and benefits of particular art materials’. A wealth of rich information came to light; however this concluding research served mainly to identify the many avenues in which future research is necessary.