Portrait Therapy

Portrait Therapy

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

Susan Carr


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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.


Susan Carr:
Dr Susan Carr is an art therapist, artist, writer and researcher, with 12 years' experience working in palliative care. She is an Associate Editor for the International Journal of Art Therapy and is based in Swindon, UK.