According to Dryden et al. (1992), the concept of art therapy is essentially based in the image and the progression of this method permits the occurrence of a transaction between three critical components of this model. Respectively these components are known as the creator or patient, the artifact, and the therapist. The aims of art therapy align with other processes of therapy whereby; the therapist engages his/her expertise to allow the patient’s unconscious feelings to travel to a conscious state. Once the unconscious emotions of the creator attain a conscious level, the application of art therapy principles allows the therapist to assess these emotions, feelings, attitudes and behaviors accordingly (Dryden et al. 1992).
In order to execute the recommendations of art therapy, therapists are equipped with several skills and expertise, which permit them to establish a link between the areas of art and therapy for the benefit of the creator. The key abilities of art therapists however, encompass a comprehensive understanding of the processes that are involved in art. These abilities involve expertise in the realm of symbolic communication and the ability to maintain an environment where patients feel secure and protected. This sense of security encourages them to convey powerful feelings and emotions that might remain sheltered in a dissimilar situation (Dryden et al. 1992).
Many individuals who have little knowledge of the conceptual and ideological basis of art therapy often establish a strong correlation between the therapeutic dimensions of art, Dryden et al. (1992) outline that these benchmarks do not play a critical role in the achievement of the objectives of art therapy. Within this model, the notion of art transcends artistic appeal and visual mastery for it is the “…expression and condensation of unconscious feelings that art making engenders are at the heart of the therapeutic transaction” (Dryden et al. 1992, p. 4).
Perhaps, professionals who belong to the area of work have framed the definition of art therapy that truly reflects recent advancements in the field. Dryden et al. (1992) state that once viewed as a systematic process, art therapy can be assessed as a type of therapy in which patients are encouraged to create visual images such as paintings or sketches. These images are created under the attendance of a qualified art therapist who assists the externalization of those feelings and emotions that would have been inhibited normally.
B. Identification of Topic and Purpose of Selection
The literature that has been critically analyzed and examined for the purposes of this paper focuses on a widely documented topic in art therapy that has garnered the attention of researchers and scholars. This notion is that of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the onset of which can be attributed to a single traumatic event in the individual’s life or a series of traumatic situations that could have occurred thereby, exposing the...