As a starting point in the discussion of this case vignette, I suggest the following directions.
1. The writing style of this and other upcoming vignettes is creative, rather than academic/scholarly. What are the pros and cons?
2. The image is a guide and an aid to empathy. How is this similar/different than empathy gained through talking?
3. My suggestion to Clarence that he titles his image invited him to make an interpretation. When and how is interpretation appropriate?
4. Clarence’s honest answer about looking at his finished image, “I feel the same,” makes me think of the element of timing in art therapy: is it fair to make before-and-after assessments in short-term treatment settings? Is insight the same as change? How long does change take to occur?
5. In spite of his difficulty communicating, Clarence nails an important issue: the indicator of the value of the art therapy session is not how he feels now, it is the ability of the image to convey powerful and complex emotions for him.
6. It is noteworthy that an image like this one conveys a deeply emotional content without the sentimentalism that so often plagues such expressions in written or verbal form. In fact, the title may have introduced a sentimental value to the message. What about that?
7. Confidentiality: Clarence wants me to use his name. Obviously, I can’t, but it makes me wonder: Who is served by confidentiality? Is there an argument against it in art therapy?
Please post your reply and any of your thoughts that are relevant to case vignette #1.
Thank you for participating in this discussion.
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