Art therapy's role in facilitating emotional expression in an adult with autism

Dutt, Disha (2014) Art therapy's role in facilitating emotional expression in an adult with autism. Masters thesis, LASALLE College of the Arts.

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Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Title: Art therapy's role in facilitating emotional expression in an adult with autism

Autism is a pervasive developmental disorder. The main symptoms of this disorder is the impairments in social interaction, communication skills and the presence of restricted and repetitive behaviors (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Autism is a population that has been explored and researched extensively within art therapy. However adults with autism are a population that has been largely left out of this research. Most of the available literature appears to be focused on sessions with children who have autism.
This dissertation aims at exploring this seemingly neglected area of adults with autism and the role that art therapy plays in facilitating the expression and processing of emotions with this population. Individuals with Autism often have trouble understanding their own emotions. This could be because of the inability to understand the emotions of people around them which results in an impaired understanding of emotional expression in general. Individuals with autism lack a theory of mind. This means that that the understanding of their own emotions is limited which results in a lack of understanding and difficulties in relating to the emotions of others (Baron-Cohenetal, 1985). The main reason for developing this research is to understand the effect that art therapy has on a population that has a significant impairment in their ability to express as well as understand emotions.
To understand and explore this primary issue in individuals with autism, a focus has been placed on countertransference which helps in understanding the relation and expression of emotions within the therapeutic relationship. To understand the role of art therapy when working with an adult who has autism, the triangular relationship theory, which talks about the relation between the client, therapist and the artwork will be taken into consideration. This theory further helped in recognizing the importance of the artwork and art materials and explored how these helped to develop and build trust within the therapeutic alliance.
A qualitative single case study method has been used. This case study involves a young male adult with high functioning autism and has been carried out at a vocational center for adults with autism in Singapore. Ethical problems that occur when doing therapy and research with this client group has also been explored.

Subjects: Art therapy
Divisions: Faculty for the Creative Industries > Thesis - MA Art Therapy
Depositing User: Ms Ashalatha Krishnan
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2015 06:39
Last Modified: 15 Jun 2015 06:39
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