I think your inclinations are right: witnessing the art is indeed a good way to promote the client-artwork relationship and to preserve dignity. I think the underlying idea here is RESPECT, and it is a good one. Pat Allen's writing on witnessing in Art is a Way of Knowing (Shambhala)is a good start for more details, also her work at the Open Studio Project in Chicago, and there is lots more on the topic (Shaun McNiff, and James Hillman indirectly).
Yes, art contains the storm that may be releases through it, as long as the therapist doesn't ask innoportune questions about the art's content, thereby breaking an implied contract, and the container.
Yes, a form of coutertransference can happen between the therapist and the artwork, because it is so powerful. The art therapist can judiciously let a client know that the art piece is making him/her feel a certain way, as long as the therapist is talking about the artwork, not the client. Again, this would be a way to promote the client-artwork relationship as a primary relationship, and it would also demonstrate to the client how the relationship with the art is mutual. What the art does to us is important.
Thank you for your contributions, I look forward to reading more of your writing.
With every good wish for your thesis.
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