Art Heals: How Creativity Cures the Soul (Paperback)
The field of art therapy is discovering that artistic expression can be a powerful means of personal transformation and emotional and spiritual healing. In this book, Shaun McNiff, a leader in expressive arts therapy for more than three decades, reflects on a wide spectrum of activities aimed at reviving art's traditional healing function. In chapters ranging from "Liberating Creativity" and "The Practice of Creativity in the Workplace" to "From Shamanism to Art Therapy," he illuminates some of the most progressive views in the rapidly expanding field of art therapy:
- The "practice of imagination" as a powerful force for transformation
- A challenge to literal-minded psychological interpretations of artworks ("black colors indicate depression") and the principle that even disturbing images have inherent healing properties
- The role of the therapist in promoting an environment conducive to free expression and therapeutic energies
- The healing effects of group work, with people creating alongside one another and interacting in the studio
- "Total expression," combining arts such as movement, storytelling, and drumming with painting and drawing.
About the Author
Shaun McNiff is internationally recognized as a founder and leading figure in the arts and healing field. University Professor at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, he is past president of the American Art Therapy Association and the author of several other books including Art As Medicine, Trust the Process, and Creating with Others .
"Shaun McNiff remains first and foremost an ally of the soul. Here he offers us a stunning array of entry points into the creative process. We learn how to transform the most mundane aspects of life through artistic encounters and to engage with our most painful challenges creatively."—Pat B. Allen, Ph.D., ATR, instructor at the school of the Art Institute of Chicago and author of Art Is a Way of Knowing
"Art Heals restores the therapeutic imagination to its central place in human life. The creative energy of this book will be recognized by all those who have been touched by the healing power of the arts. It is a masterly work by a master in the field of creative and expressive arts therapies."—Stephen K. Levine, Dean of the Doctoral Program in Expressive Arts: Therapy, Education, Consulting, at The European Graduate School
"Shaun McNiff challenges us through these remarkable essays not only to take on the role of artist and dare to create our most compelling images, but also to dialogue with them and by doing so, to engage in a process of healing the inevitable wounds of being human. In a moment in history when the images most available to us are the most horrifying and numbing, McNiff offers a stunning antidote."—Robert Landy, Ph.D., RDT/BCT, Professor of Educational Theatre and Drama Therapy, New York University
"Reading Art Heals is like attending a retrospective exhibition of a master artist, with its careful selection, critique, and contemplation of McNiff's original ideas and guiding images. In refining and reimagining these ideas in the context of today, McNiff brings a fresh vision to his work and offers a valuable answer to the increasingly incoherent fragmentation of mental health care."—Lynn Kapitan, Ph.D., ATR-BC, Associate Professor of Graduate Art Therapy of Mount Mary College and author of Re-enchanting Art Therapy