I feel like at the stage that I am at in my art therapy program, it is strange to have to read a book with the words “Introduction to Art Therapy” in the title. Shouldn’t I be past that? And I have indeed already been required to read a lot of other material by Bruce Moon in the same field. And yet, something about this book really helped at this point in my studies with concretizing some ideas for me that I have been presented with before, but have not yet really envisioned the practicalities or application of. If that makes sense? It also helps that Moon has a very straightforward writing style that captures the essence of what he is trying to say, without being too dry like many textbooks, or too abstract like I have actually found a number of the texts in art therapy in particular to be.
In this book, Moon essentially lays out some information on the development of art therapy in the US, briefly describes some of the major theorietical foundations within the field, and explains the fundamentals of the process of facilitating art therapy and healing through art. All of this is elaborated and enhanced by detailing particular case studies and individuals that Moon worked with that help to paint a picture of the process going on in creative therapies. His chapter specifically focusing on the fundamental values and concepts of the profession and practice of it was the one that I found to be most informative in a sense of truly presenting how he sees the core concepts of art therapy playing out and presenting themselves, which is something that I sometimes have a hard time wrapping my head around. What is mean is that a lot of the time I hear a concept or idea and think, “I understand the theory behind this, but what exactly would that look like??” It’s sometimes hard to identify how things might actually manifest, play out, or show up in the therapy room. And of course, it is always very situation specific, which can make things tricky, but the way Moon explains things just makes more sense to me than when others try to describe or explain the same concepts.
Overall, I would say that this book has been helpful to me as I begin my first practicum, and continue with my coursework. Would I read this book if I were not pursuing art therapy as a career? Probably not, and I’m pretty sure I say that with every textbook or school book I review. But this one wasn’t so bad, and I actually think I might have to revisit a few chapters for another look as I continue.
[As always, this review can be found double-posted on my personal blog]