Group Analytic Art Therapy

Group Analytic Art Therapy

Group Analytic Art Therapy

Group Analytic Art Therapy


"Group Analytic Art Therapy provides readers with a practical and theoretical framework for using group art therapy in a range of settings. Based on over 20 years' experience of conducting group art therapy, this book is packed with suggestions for practice and explanatory diagrams. The author, internationally renowned psychotherapist Gerry McNeilly, explores the dynamics and psychological effects of diverse group situations based on examples from his own clinical practice. This book offers an illuminating insight into McNeilly's theories and practical applications of group art therapy in the context of significant developments in the field. Group Analytic Art Therapy is both a comprehensive reference and an inspiring text for practising and trainee art therapists, psychotherapists and group therapists." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved


I agreed to write a foreword before I read this book. Reading the text has been illuminating, for McNeilly has shed new light on the depths of the group analytic enterprise. Hidden dimensions are revealed by the use of binocular apparatus provided by group analytic art therapy. McNeilly takes the reader on a journey from his Northern Ireland childhood, through musicianship, art therapy training and therapeutic community membership, and finally to his group analytic apprenticeship. The apprentice is now a master.

The reader will find a good exposition of the theory of group analysis, spotlighted with vivid phrases: resonance and intuition dualled with dynamic silence and wisdom; complexity and simplicity; the ‘simple’ interpretation is built on the grasp of theoretical complexity.

McNeilly adds to our understanding of Foulkes’ concept of resonance and, when he acknowledges the value of improvisation in formulating and delivering interpretations, he develops the principles and methods enunciated by Foulkes himself: that interpretations are given in an unfinished form that invites group members to take them over to elaborate for themselves.

The art therapy experience has shown McNeilly the pivotal points of each session that potentially bind or drive apart the latent opposing forces. The group analyst occupies a pivotal position, has the ability and task to affect the group dynamics, the focus constantly moving from polar positions.

In preparing this foreword, I have studied this text carefully, finding much of value with which to comprehend the intricacies of our group analytic enterprise. Of those intricacies, McNeilly writes:

Paradoxically, psychotherapy is both a complex and a simple therapy.
Existing theory ranges between the complex and the simple, more
often the former. I am drawn to finding simple structures of under
standing and intervention within the therapeutic frame. I believe that
this is possible only if there is a firm grounding in more complex theory.
The simple psychotherapeutic interpretation draws upon historical

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