Best Art Therapy Books To Read In 2022

Art therapy has come a long way in the past few decades. Practiced since the days of antiquity, art therapy is a form of psychotherapy in which the patient, also known as the client, works with a therapist to explore their innermost thoughts, feelings, and experiences through artistic expression.

Art therapy is one of several types of psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is a type of intervention that seeks to help people manage their emotions, solve personal problems, and cope with stress. Everyone experiences stress and emotions on a daily basis, but some people feel them more intensely than others, and they may react to them in different ways.

If you want to learn more about art therapy, whether you are a student of psychology or a therapist who would like to expand your knowledge, art therapy books are the way to go. Carefully written by experts on the field, these books should serve as a handy guide for aspiring art therapists who would like to learn about the fundamentals of the field.

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Here is Best Psych Books list of the best art therapy books to read in 2022.

Art Therapy Sourcebook

Author: Cathy A. Malchiodi

What it’s about: Learn about the fundamentals of art therapy all in one single sourcebook.

The Blurb: Newly updated and revised, this authoritative guide shows you how to use art therapy to guide yourself and others on a special path of personal growth, insight, and transformation. Cathy A. Malchiodi, a leading expert in the field, gives you step-by-step instructions for stimulating creativity and interpreting the resulting art pieces. This encouraging and effective method can help you and others recover from pain and become whole again.

Where to get it: You can get a copy of Art Therapy Sourcebook on Amazon.

The Wiley Handbook of Art Therapy

Author: Various experts

What it’s about: Learn about art therapy from an academic and clinical perspective.

The Blurb:

The Wiley Handbook of Art Therapy is a collection of original, internationally diverse essays, that provides unsurpassed breadth and depth of coverage of the subject.

  • The most comprehensive art therapy book in the field, exploring a wide range of themes
  • A unique collection of the current and innovative clinical, theoretical and research approaches in the field
  • Cutting-edge in its content, the handbook includes the very latest trends in the subject, and in-depth accounts of the advances in the art therapy arena
  • Edited by two highly renowned and respected academics in the field, with a stellar list of global contributors, including Judy Rubin, Vija Lusebrink, Selma Ciornai, Maria d’ Ella and Jill Westwood
  • Part of the Wiley Handbooks in Clinical Psychology series

Where to get it: You can get a copy of The Wiley Handbook of Art Therapy on Amazon.

Art Therapy, Trauma, And Neuroscience

Author: Juliet L. King

What it’s about: Taking on a neuroscience perspective, this art therapy book explains how art therapy can be a useful technique when addressing those experiencing trauma.

The Blurb: Art Therapy, Trauma, and Neuroscience combines theory, research, and practice with traumatized populations in a neuroscience framework. Recognizing the importance of understanding both art therapy and trauma studies as brain-based interventions, some of the most renowned figures in art therapy and trauma use translational and integrative neuroscience to provide theoretical and applied techniques. Therapists will come away from this book with tools for a refined understanding of brain-based interventions in a dynamic yet accessible format.

Where to get it: You can get a copy of Art Therapy, Trauma, And Neuroscience on Amazon.

The Handbook of Art Therapy and Digital Technology

Author: Various, edited by Cathy A. Malchiodi

What it’s about: Another work by art therapy expert Cathy A. Malchiodi, compiling contributions from professionals in the field, this art therapy book delves into the use and application of digital technology, such as tablets and smartphones, in contemporary art therapy.

The Blurb: Alongside Cathy Malchiodi, the contributors review the pros and cons of introducing digital technology into art therapy, address the potential ethical and professional issues that can arise and give insight into the effect of digital technology on the brain. They cover a wide range of approaches, from therapeutic filmmaking to the use of tablet and smartphone technology in therapy. Detailed case studies bring the practicalities of using digital technology with children, adolescents and adults to life and the use of social media in art therapy practice, networking and community-building is also discussed.

Where to get it: You can get a copy of The Handbook of Art Therapy and Digital Technology on Amazon.

DBT-Informed Art Therapy

Author: Susan M. Clark

What it’s about: This art therapy book discusses the integration of dialectical behavior therapy and art therapy.

The Blurb: Understand DBT-informed art therapy, and how to apply it to your practice. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) treats problems with emotion regulation, and is especially effective in treating chronic self-harming and suicidal behaviors associated with Borderline Personality Disorder. Combining the structure and skill development of DBT with the creativity and non-verbal communication of art therapy can be a significant advantage in treating patients who are resistant to talking therapy.

Where to get it: You can get a copy of DBT-Informed Art Therapy on Amazon.

Art as Therapy

Author: Alain de Botton and John Armstrong

What it’s about: While not specifically a book that deals with art therapy as a counseling form, Art as Therapy takes the position that art can have a therapeutic purpose — which is what’s essentially at the core of art therapy.

The Blurb: This passionate, thought-provoking, often funny, and always-accessible book proposes a new way of looking at art, suggesting that it can be useful, relevant, and therapeutic. Through practical examples, the world-renowned authors argue that certain great works of art have clues as to how to manage the tensions and confusions of modern life. Chapters on love, nature, money, and politics show how art can help with many common difficulties, from forging good relationships to coming to terms with mortality.

Where to get it: You can get a copy of Art as Therapy on Amazon.

Approaches to Art Therapy: Theory and Technique

Author: Various, edited by Judith Aron Rubin

What it’s about: This art therapy book focuses on experts’ insight on the different applications of art therapy, from classic interventions to newer approaches based on contemporary research.

The Blurb: The third edition of Approaches to Art Therapy brings together varied theoretical approaches and provides a variety of solutions to the challenge of translating theory to technique. In each chapter, the field’s most eminent scholars provide a definition of and orientation to the specific theory or area of emphasis, showing its relevance to art therapy. The third edition includes many new chapters with material on a wide variety of topics including contemplative approaches, DBT, neuroscience, and mentalization while also retaining important and timeless contributions from the pioneers of art therapy. Clinical case examples and over 100 illustrations of patient artwork vividly demonstrate the techniques in practice. Approaches to Art Therapy, 3rd edition, is an essential resource in the assembly of any clinician’s theoretical and technical toolbox, and in the formulation of each individual’s own approach to art therapy.

Where to get it: You can get a copy of Approaches to Art Therapy on Amazon.

The Modern History of Art Therapy In the United States

Author: Maxine Borowsky Junge

What it’s about: This book chronicles the rich history of art therapy and the various developments and iterations it has undergone particularly in the United States. Highlighted in this art therapy books are the men and women who made this practice one of the most popular forms of interventions.

The Blurb: [T]he book presents issues essential to the field today such as art therapy registration, certification and licensing, art therapy assessment procedures, research, multiculturalism and art therapy as an international phenomenon. This text will be of primary interest to art therapists and students, to art educators and historians, and to those interested in how mental health disciplines evolve.

Where to get it: You can get a copy of The Modern History of Art Therapy In the United States on Amazon.

Spirituality and Art Therapy

Author: Mimi Farrelly-Hansen

What it’s about: This book brings to the forefront the idea of spirituality as a concept that can inform the practice of art therapy.

The Blurb: Reflecting the increasing recognition of the importance of the spiritual in healing, Spirituality and Art Therapy is an exciting exploration of the different ways in which the spiritual forms an essential, life-enhancing component of a well-rounded therapeutic approach. The contributors are leading art therapists who write from diverse perspectives, including Christian, Jewish, Buddhist and shamanic. They explain how their own spiritual and creative influences interact, finding expression in the use of art as a healing agent with specific populations, such as bereaved children, emotionally disturbed adolescents, and the homeless. The relationships between spirituality and visual art, art therapy and transpersonal psychology are examined. Story and image are interwoven in the spiritual journeys of therapists and clients, and suggested creative exercises make this an accessible, practical resource for those who desire to understand and execute an holistic method of therapy. Arguing that art therapists can mediate between the sacred and the mundane, this pioneering book is an affirmation of the transformative power of art therapy.

Where to get it: You can get a copy of Spirituality and Art Therapy on Amazon.

Jungian Art Therapy

Author: Nora Swan-Foster

What it’s about: Written by prominent Jungian analyst Nora Swan-Foster, This book is a guide on integrating the concepts of Carl Jung and Jungian psychology into art therapy.

The Blurb: Jungian Art Therapy aims to provide a clear, introductory manual for art therapists on how to navigate Jung’s model of working with the psyche. This exciting new text circumambulates Jung’s map of the mind so as to reinforce the theoretical foundations of analytical psychology while simultaneously defining key concepts to help orient practitioners, students, and teachers alike. The book provides several methods, which illustrate how to work with the numerous images originating from the unconscious and glean understanding from them. Throughout the text readers will enjoy clinical vignettes to support each chapter and illuminate important lessons.

Where to get it: You can get a copy of Jungian Art Therapy on Amazon.

The Role of Metaphor in Art Therapy

Author: Bruce L. Moon

What it’s about: This book is a guide for therapists to understand and make sense of metaphors typically expressed through art therapy, especially by clients who struggle to tell their stories.

The Blurb: Pragmatic and poetic, this book is a tribute to the complexities and mysteries of working with people who are suffering and striving to tell their stories through expressive artistic processes. Its roots lay deep in encounters with children, adolescents, and adults who have come to the author for help over the last three decades. It is grounded in interactions with graduate art therapy students and encounters with important themes in life. This book makes no effort to affix particular meanings to the metaphors discussed in the clinical vignettes, but rather, suggests ways to listen and respond to metaphoric communications. In the methodology described in this book, ways to respond to clients’ metaphors are demonstrated by creating stories, poems, and visual artworks. Art therapy sessions are described, engaging in dialogues with clients and their artworks in an effort to invite both to share stories. The studio-based approach, where artists and art therapists work side-by-side making art, exploring issues of transition, and listening metaphorically, is examined. In addition, the relevance of esthetics and empathy in looking at client artwork without judgment and responding to the client through art making is discussed. This excellent resource describes how to look at, listen to, and respond to the metaphors that artworks divulge.

Where to get it: You can get a copy of The Role of Metaphor in Art Therapy on Amazon.

Art Therapy and Substance Abuse

Author: Libby Schmanke

What it’s about: Art Therapy and Substance Abuse is written by Libby Schmanke, a professor of counselor education at Emporia University. In this book, she provides insights, based on decades of clinical work, on how art therapy can be used to help people suffering from substance abuse.

The Blurb: Drawing on many years’ experience working with this population, Libby Schmanke provides valuable insight into this client group and explains how to ensure therapeutic interventions remain personalized and effective, while also meeting program needs. With case vignettes throughout, the book covers everything from common treatment models and how art therapy can be incorporated within them, to the bio-psycho-social aspects of addiction and how to handle a lack of cooperation or resistance to therapy.

Where to get it: You can get a copy of Art Therapy and Substance Abuse on Amazon.

Art Therapy for Groups

Author: Marian Liebmann

What it’s about: Art Therapy for Groups provides instructions and actionable tips on setting up art therapy groups.

The Blurb: Art Therapy for Groups provides detailed guidance on how to set up and run theme-based art therapy groups and discusses factors affecting different client groups. The second half of the book consists of nearly 400 themes and practical exercises to use with groups, set out in sections ranging from personal work to group interactive exercises.

Where to get it: You can get a copy of Art Therapy for Groups on Amazon.