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Portrait Therapy

Portrait Therapy

Resolving Self-Identity Disruption in Clients with Life-Threatening and Chronic Illnesses

Susan M. D. Carr

Quick Overview

This book explains the theory and practice of portrait therapy, an original art therapy intervention. It reveals how the intervention can be used to address a 'disrupted' self-identity, which is common in people with life-threatening or chronic illness and is characterised by statements like 'I'm not the person I used to be'.
Details Price Qty
Paperback / softback
2017, 9.09in x 6.34in / 231mm x 161mm, 296pp
ISBN: 9781785922930
2017, ePUB, 296pp
ISBN: 978-1-78450-605-6
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Portrait therapy reverses the traditional roles in art therapy, utilising Edith Kramer's concept of the art therapist's 'third hand' to collaboratively design and paint their clients' portraits. It addresses 'disrupted' self-identity, which is common in serious illness and characterised by statements like 'I don't know who I am anymore' and 'I'm not the person I used to be'.

This book explores the theory and practice of portrait therapy, including Kenneth Wright's theory of 'mirroring and attunement'. Case studies, accompanied by colour portraits, collages and prose-poems, provide insight into the intervention and the author highlights the potential for portrait therapy to be used with other client groups in the future.


'This intriguing book turns the art therapy lens in the reverse direction - the art therapist painting portraits co-created with seriously ill clients, to help revalidate their self-identities. It is a fascinating book, thoroughly researched and well written.'
- Marian Liebmann, art therapist


By (author): Susan Carr