Presence and Process in Expressive Arts Work
Release Date:15 Apr 2014

Presence and Process in Expressive Arts Work

At the Edge of Wonder

Jessica Kingsley Publishers

What are the basic attitudes, values, and practices that are essential for effective work with the expressive arts? This book explores the answer to that question.

The authors examine in depth the concepts of 'presence' - a way of 'being' - and 'process' - an open and trusting way of working - in the professional helping relationship and in the making of art. They introduce readers to the premise of the 'uniqueness of persons' that underpins these ideas, and look at how to realize them in practice. Diverse experiences are also shared of using the arts in group and individual work in a variety of settings, from team building and education to counseling, psychotherapy and supervision.

This book is a comprehensive, foundational guide for all practitioners who use the expressive arts as a way of facilitating learning, growth, healing, and change, including expressive arts therapists and students, counsellors, coaches, and other helping professionals. With its clear structure and straight forward style, the book is appropriate also for beginners in these professional fields.

“This book by Sally Atkins and Herbert Eberhart offers a unique combination of explanatory discourse, personal experience and practical examples concerning the question: what are the helping effects when carrying out expressive arts work in psychotherapy, counseling, coaching, supervision, etc.? For a long time, students as well as practitioners have been yearning for such a book, because they are increasingly asked to describe and explain the principles of their doing. Congratulations for supplying this need, now!” – Dr. Jürgen Kriz, Professor Emeritus, Osnabrück University, Germany
“Herbert Eberhart's and Sally Atkins's terse and wise book reveals why the worldwide community of the European Graduate School leads the way in applying ideas and methods originally developed in expressive arts therapy to a spectrum of practice ranging from organizational development to social change. Their teamwork models the presence, process, and wonder of creation.” – Shaun McNiff, University Professor and founder of the first expressive arts therapy program at Lesley University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
“This is a major contribution to the field of expressive arts, a pioneering work, bringing together these central concepts, presence and process, with fundamental ideas about the arts and aesthetics.” – from the foreword by Paolo J. Knill, Ph.D., Provost of the European Graduate School, Professor Emeritus at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA, and an internationally recognized leader and founder of Expressive Arts
“Atkins and Eberhart have confronted the essential quandary of 21st-century life 'ordered by routines and plans even if the plans don't work'.As our world constricts further, seeking greater efficiency in its planning, these two visionaries dare to explore the wisdom of curiosity, wonder, and imagination kindled through art, improvisation, and openness to surprise. That which is offered here moves past the studio to permeate their clients' and students' worlds with aesthetic sensitivity and responsibility. Beautiful!” – Harold McKinney, DA, Trombonist, Professor Emeritus of Music, Appalachian State University, Founding member of the Appalachian Expressive Arts Collective, Director of Gypsy Harvest Annex International Improvisational Performing Ensemble
Presence and Process in Expressive Arts Work is a deceptively simple book. It can be easily understood by beginners in the field, yet at the same time it may very well deepen the understanding of experienced practitioners. The interconnection of the two major concepts is presented in a clear yet profound way, and their relevance to expressive arts work is convincingly presented. My own understanding of the field has been deepened considerably, and my belief in its importance has also been strengthened. Most importantly, the book has helped me remember that our work happens 'at the edge of wonder,' that we all have the potential to find hope and joy in the presence of the world and of others. – Stephen K. Levine, The European Graduate School
Herbert Eberhart, Ph.D., is a social worker and clinical psychologist. He worked for 25 years as a Senior Professor at the Zurich School of Social Work, and he teaches at several higher education institutions, including the European Graduate School in Switzerland. Sally Atkins is a poet, performing artist, psychotherapist, psychologist, registered expressive arts therapist and registered expressive arts consultant/educator. She is Professor of Human Development and Psychological Counseling and Founder of the Expressive Arts Therapy Program at Appalachian State University, and Core Faculty of the European Graduate School.
Foreword by Paolo Knill. Preface by Herbert Eberhart. Preface by Sally Atkins. 1. Introduction. 2. Embracing Surprise: The Importance of the Arts in Expressive Arts Work. 3. The Courage to Meet the Other: Personal Presence in the Helping Relationship. 4. The Adventure of the Unknown: Working in a Process-Oriented Way. 5. Conclusion. Appendices. Introduction. Appendix A. Decentering with Expressive Arts. Appendix B. Expressive Arts in Dream Work. References. Index.
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