The Use of the Artist Self to Strengthen the Therapeutic Relationship with Clients Struggling with Eating Disorders

The writer will explore the premise that when the art therapist utilizes his/her artist self, the therapeutic relationship is strengthened which in turn leads to healing in clients struggling with eating disorders. The writer seeks to understand what ignites the flame of the artistic self. This paper will examine creativity, art-making, and the influence of environment and developmental stages on creativity to gain understanding. The review of literature will also explore a forest of healing specifically around the population dealing with eating disorders. Healing will be broken down into the following categories: environment; increased community connection; and increased voice through expression of feeling/emotion, truth telling, reframing meaning of one's story, vulnerability, confession, acceptance of feelings and increased insight. The third area the writer will consider is variables that create the perfect weather pattern of an effective therapeutic relationship. Research will focus on a humanistic, relational, client-centered approach to therapy. The writer claims that therapist congruence and authenticity; unconditional positive regard and empathy; disclosure and boundaries profoundly impact the effectiveness of the therapeutic relationship.

Bevie LaBrie
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