The mirror within: An art therapy research project identifying the links between anorexia nervosa, object relations and the potential role of art as the transitional object

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Gray, Bronwen
Art therapy.; Art Therapy
thesis / dissertation description
This research focuses on the use of art therapy with female teenage clients suffering from anorexia nervosa. The aim was to undertake a pilot study that would establish whether art therapy could assist in identifying anorexic clients' ego boundary delineations using an object relations framework (That is, either enmeshed, inter related or isolated). Utilising Elkisch's picture analysis procedure, client art works were analysed by contrasting positive and negative characteristics as a way of gaining insight into the client's boundary delineation cognition. Five female subjects aged between thirteen and sixteen, who were taking pan in the eating disorders program, located in a large teaching hospital in Western Australia, took part in one hour group urt therapy sessions, that were held over a three week period. Paralleling this process, a group made up of a similarly demographic population, deemed to be non anorexic took part in an identical an therapy program. Their an works were used as a means of comparison for this thesis. This study attempted to answer the question "Can art therapy be used as the measure for determining difference between the art works of the female teenage clients with anorexia from the art works that the fema1e teenagers without anorexia when viewed within an object relations framework?"