Simon Bell



JSS 1.2

Past News

JSS 1.2 Art Therapy and Spirituality

by Mr Simon Bell, Sheffield, UK
Journal for the Study of Spirituality 1, no. 2, 2011, pp. 215-230

This article discusses spirituality in health care and how this area of need can be addressed through art therapy, especially in palliative care. It proposes that art-making is deeply imbued with transcendent and non-materialistic qualities of human experience, and that religion and spirituality are inseparable from art as they are inseparable from life. Through a discussion about meaning-making in art therapy in palliative care, spirituality is identified as a significant dimension to the experience of the terminally ill and dying. Art therapy facilitates meaning-making through the use of art materials and images, and thus opens up an intra-psychic space where spirituality can be acknowledged, explored and understood. The psychotherapeutic benefits of this experience are outlined in terms of the affirmation of personhood and identity, and an increased sense of personal validation and worth. The imaginative language of art can also enable the expression of existential questions relating to death, dying, loss and grief. In conclusion, a short case study, derived from the author’s doctoral research, illustrates how art therapy can address spirituality in palliative care.

To read the full article, click here.