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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 72368 Find in a Library
Title: Art Therapy in a Women's Correctional Facility
Journal: Art Psychotherapy  Volume:5  Issue:3  Dated:(1978)  Pages:157-166
Author(s): B Levy
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 10
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: An art therapy program at Kentucky Correctional Institue for Women, a minimum and maximum security facility, was designed to provide an alternative therapeutic resource for inmates previously untouched or unaffected by other modalities.
Abstract: Primarily, the program aimed to provide a relatively open environment where residents did not have to obey authoritative rules but could make some of their own and interact among themselves without surveillance, achieving some level of individuality and independence while working together toward some mutual goal. The art milieu introduces offenders to various problem-solving projects that encourage self-exploration and may be generalized to outside situations. The group provides an opportunity for interaction and ensuing therapeutic experience. The visual communication benefits the trained therapist, the inmate, and the institution. Moreover, the creative and artistic experience provide cathartic effects. Finally, art as an end in itself, provides an opportunity for individuals to express themselves and be creative. One particularly difficult group of persons who exercised a great deal of acting out and avoidance, exemplifies the ways in which art therapy works to assist individuals in self-growth. These individuals used the sessions as outlets for bottled-up emotions, feelings, and ideas that could not be expressed freely either because of personal resistance or because of institutional impositions.The artwork afforded a chance to deal with feelings, displaying them in graphic form, and communicating them by nonverbal means. Growth and awareness were evident among those who attended regularly. Perhaps to instill self-initiation, independence, openness, trust, and self-motivation without instilling the proper balance of self-control, foresight, and appropriate reality-testing is detrimental in the institutional setting. That the art room can be a breeding ground for control and planning, however, is apparent. That positive and long-range qualities may be attained is also apparent. Change can be affected in the inmate population and in a manner which does not jeopardize the individual's survival in the institution. Descriptions of the exemplary group members and sessions and a group poem are presented.
Index Term(s): Female inmates; Group therapy; Kentucky; Milieu therapy; Women's correctional institutions
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=72368

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