Call for Contributors
A view from the other side: Therapists’ art and their internal worlds
Editor: Dr Christina Richards
Art in the widest sense – including poetry, prose, drawing, painting, and photography and more – have long been a key part of the therapeutic process. This is the case not only for those people who actively engage with it as a part of their therapy, such as clients, art therapists, narrative therapists and the like; But also for more traditional therapists who deal with words only but still respect the window into the interior, and the different perspectives on the human condition, that art can provide. For example, we can consider the novels of the existential canon such as Sartre’s Nausea and Camus’ The Outsider; or the painting, poetry, and ceramic work of the psychoanalytic tradition. Similarly, the journaling of CBT and CAT have their place here, as well as the wide variety of art by therapists depicted in therapeutic journals – the Therapists Chair photographic series in the Hermeneutic Circular for example, and the annual poetry competitions in The Psychologist.
These things form a key part of the training of counsellors, psychiatrists, psychologists, psychotherapists, and other mental health workers as they strive to understand the [sub]culture in which they find themselves; as well as reflecting and fostering a sense of community among established practitioners seeking a deeper understanding of our therapeutic world.
While these disparate artistic endeavours are therefore a vital part of the rich culture of therapy worldwide, there is little written on how this art expresses either the person or the work of the therapist who created it. The art is there without explanation as it were. This is admirable as it allows interpretation by the viewer, however, it also shows a clear lacuna in the literature for interested parties who are seeking the meaning intended by the therapist/artist. A View from the Other Side: therapists’ art and their internal world therefore seeks to represent such therapist art – within the pragmatic bounds afforded by the publication format – accompanied by an explanation. This allows a fuller exploration of the therapist interior world, and the practicalities of what they do in the consulting room, rather than simply the art or explanation alone; and so will inform students and professionals in terms of their own development and work.
It is envisaged that each contributor will provide one piece of art – this may be an image or in written format (not exceeding 500 words). The submission must be digital, and must be in a format suitable for inclusion in a high quality printed book. Consequently, a high quality digital photograph or scan of a painting, for example, will likely be acceptable – but must be of sufficient quality for inclusion. (We will not be able to perform such scans – the author must provide the digital media). Think Art Book not illustration of an academic point within a therapy book. The art (in whatever form) will be an exploration of what it means to be a therapist and of your work with clients. Of course, this need not be literal – it may be figurative; it may be something which you feel is constitutive of you as a person which then feeds in to your client work.
The art will take a full page of the book and will be accompanied in the following pages by 2000 words of text explaining the meaning of the art – in the context of you as a professional and your client work.
If you would like to submit a proposal, please email a brief outline of your contribution to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are intending to submit an image, it would be helpful to have a copy of the image you hope to include at the proposal stage; otherwise you may risk rejection on the basis of image quality once you have submitted your accompanying text. Naturally poetry, prose, etc., may be submitted as one with the accompanying text.
I look forward to your submissions to this new and innovate book. I know I am always interested to find out who we ‘really’ are and what we do as people as well as how we do it. This is our opportunity to move beyond a dry recounting of the quotidian demands of our job roles and to show a little more of our rich inner lives – to show who we are if you will, rather than simply what we do.