ART THERAPY AND SOCIAL ACTION: A TRANSPERSONAL FRAMEWORK
This article introduces a conceptual framework that integrates art therapy and social action. The author uses a transpersonal model of the human psyche and an interdependent paradigm of the self and views personal psychological experiences and external societal structures as entwined in a cocreative, mutually dependent relationship. From this perspective, art therapy and social action become interconnected enterprises ultimately having the same goal: just and peaceful communities derived from individual and collective wholeness. The unique role of image in art therapy and social action is discussed, and homophobia is used as a working example of the reciprocal impact of societal and individual psychic processes. Art therapists should examine their complicity in unjust social arrangements and take a moral stance to work for justice by actively redressing imbalances, within and outside the consulting room. It is suggested that art therapists adopt an action research approach by relinquishing theoretical dogma and cultural assumptions to consider the specific needs and worldview of the individuals being served.