Art psychotherapy in a consumer diagnosed with borderline personality disorder: A case study

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Abstract

This case study reviews 11 sessions of art psychotherapy with a consumer diagnosed with having borderline personality disorder. A consumer who reported difficulty in communicating her lived trauma verbally and engaged in self-harming behaviour was offered individual art therapy sessions following a consultation between an art therapy student and clinical nurse consultant in an attempt to understand her experiences and to collaboratively engage her. Notes were taken after each session by the art therapy student, reflecting conversations with this consumer while they were engaged in art making, which were subsequently explored within formal clinical supervision sessions with a mental health nurse consultant. An art portfolio is reproduced. It illustrates the expressive power of image creation. The key features of the images were that of lived trauma, the externalization of thoughts and feelings, and intense emotional expression. The results of this chronological art portfolio case study indicated therapeutic benefits from the intervention for this consumer. Further investigations of this type of intervention are warranted within the mental health setting.

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