Creativity and the Dissociative Patient
160 pages, 6 x 9
Release Date:01 May 1999
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Creativity and the Dissociative Patient

Puppets, Narrative and Art in the Treatment of Survivors of Childhood Trauma

By Lani Gerity; Foreword by Edith Kramer
Jessica Kingsley Publishers
Lani Gerity shows in this book that puppet-making, incorporating both art and narrative, provides an ideal vehicle for therapeutic work. It is particularly valuable in the treatment of dissociative patients, whose symptoms may include disturbances in body image, a dissociated sense of self, a disrupted sense of history and causality, and a feeling of alienation from the self. Lani Gerity explores the application of this in the context of object relations theory. She shows the creative process working on many levels for dissociative individuals and groups. Making puppets, three-dimensional representations of the human body, helped one patient to integrate her sense of her body image and herself. Using puppets and creating narratives about them encourages patients to build communities and to release themselves from the hold of the trauma of their pasts. Descriptions and analyses of Gerity's work with dissociative patients in the US and Canada is underpinned by a theoretical framework which encompasses theories from the arts therapies and from psychiatry.
'The author makes an excellent case for the study of puppetry as a transitional object to help clients work through feelings of personal trauma.'- OTPLD Newsletter
Lani Gerity worked with dissociative adults for more than a decade in New York and has presented internationally and written on the dissociative patient, and on puppetry with adults. She currently practises art therapy in Ontario, Canada, assists with an art therapy programme for refugee children, serves as a visiting faculty member at New York University, and leads puppet-making workshops.
1. Introduction: Population and Agents of Change. 2. The Case of Jenny. 3. Object Relations Theories and Applications. 4. Metaphor and Story: `Anything Can Happen in Puppetland'. 5. Transference and Splitting: The Abyss: Self and the Community. 6. Healing the Split: Tales of Margaret, Winter Solstice and the Monster. 7. Reparation and the Wise Old Woman: The Conclusion. 8. Postscript: Tying up the Loose Ends. References. Index.
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