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Table of Contents

Part I Philosophical Orientation and Method. 1. About phenomenology for art therapy. 2. The phenomenological method of art therapy. Part II Symbolic Expression in Art Therapy. 3. Symbolic expression of line. 4. Symbolic expression of shape. 5. Symbolic expression of colour. 6. Additional aspects and modes of symbolic expression. Part III Expressive Qualities of the Scribble. 7. The scribble, annotated. 8. The scribble as art therapy treatment of anorexia. 9. A schizoid episode in scribbles. Part IV Art Expression for Art Therapy Diagnostics. 10. Diagnostic test batteries for children. 11. A diagnostic test battery for adolescents. Part V 12. Art expression by children under ultimate stress (Terezin Concentration Camp, 1942-44).The Market: Art therapists, psychotherapists, and all those interested in the use and study of art therapy.

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Integrating art, phenomenology and gestalt psychology, describing specific techniques and findings

About the Author

Mala Gitlin Betensky, Ph.D., ATR, formerly visiting professor of art therapy at the University of Delaware in Newark and at Haifa University in Israel, is an art therapist and clinical psychologist in private practice in Washington, D.C.She is the author of The Social Psychology of Adolescents (1954) and Self-Discovery through Self-Expression (1973).


There is a freshness and simplicity to Betensky's approach that is attractive, with its emphasis on the immediate and the directly visible, and with its respect for the client's own perception. The structure of the book mirrors in some way this directness, with concise summaries beginning and ending each chapter and with clearly described theory interwoven with frequent, enlightening case illustrations, including many drawings and some colour reproductions... Betensky approaches [the reader] with a flexible, searching style that reflects her willingness to take unexpected directions in her quest for understanding and her ability to elucidate these thoughts for the reader...the exercises contribute to the book's practicality for the art therapy reader... This thoughtful, practical book presents multiple examples from clinical case material demonstrating the effectiveness of art therapy, particularly to the non-art therapist. It will serve art therapists and non-art therapists alike in presenting a focused view of the phenomenological approach to art therapy and its advantages. -- Art Therapy
the book has much to offer the open minded and eclectic art therapist who could adapt and use these ideas with a wide range of client groups in a variety of settings. -- Inscape
Dr Betensky has made a significant contribution to the literature of art therapy...what she has done is to provide us, not only with the kinds of creative syntheses exemplified in her diagnostic, therapeutic, and research work; she has also introduced us, clearly and vividly, to the basic elements of symbolic expression in art - line, shape, colour, etc - and how they can be viewed from a phenomenological perspective. We would do well to adopt those of her techniques which seem relevant and adapt them as needed in the flexible manner of the author herself. And we would do very well to emulate the kind of scholarship, clarity and creative synthesis evident in this book, whatever form our own work eventually takes. -- From the Foreword
It feels like I am with her in the consultation room when she describes an episode with a patient. She is not just a technician. She is a professional, dealing with philosophy, past experience of other professionals and past history of the field, and her own history of work with patients. -- Dr Morris J Chalick

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