Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Art as Medicine Books of Note

Art as Medicine Creating a Therapy of the Imagination A Book by Shaun McNiff
"Whenever illness is associated with loss of soul the arts emerge spontaneously as remedies, soul medicine." Shaun McNiff

For those interested in art therapy approaches I would like to recommend the book, "Art as Medicine, Creating a Therapy of the Imagination" written by Shaun McNiff and published by Shambhala Publications. Shaun McNiff is a Past President of the American Art Therapy Association and Dean of Lesley College and a university professor at Lesley University, Massachusetts. He is also a board member for CCAHTE, The Canadian Creative Arts in Health, Training and Education Journal.

One of the many progressive ideas put forward in the book, "Art as Medicine Creating a Therapy of the Imagination" is the suggestion that one can have an "image dialogue" with art and artworks, actively engaging with the subjects present in the art while opening the way for inner discovery.

From the book (pg. 145):
"Image dialogue is a mode of the creative process that follows picture making and creates yet another series of expressions. This therapy of the imagination was anticipated by Jung, who introduced all of the creative arts therapies to psychotherapy through his practice of active imagination, an inner drama involving the full spectrum of artistic expressions."

"My use of dialogue has emerged from a desire to deepen psychological engagement with images and amplify the spectrum of expression." S. McNiff.

As the book moves toward these rich and intimate dialogues and exchanges through art, I am taken to the place of dream, a soul place of symbol and metaphor, that sacred world where the many and varied sides of the self are made manifest and given voice. CM