Discusses the use of art therapy with self-mutilating clients, with reference to the function of self-mutilation as a ritual act. In her introduction, the author describes awareness of self-mutilation in Western society and considers whether to view such an act with sympathy. Drawing on the ritual self-mutilation practices of other cultures, and on some performance practices in Western culture, she argues that individual acts of self-mutilation can be understood as part of a creative process intended to achieve a transformation of the self, which have counterparts in rituals of sacrifice. She outlines the theoretical basis for her work in this area, positioning self-mutilation as part of a process of self-healing through cycles of creation and destruction. She vies the task of the art therapist as to guide the client away from ritualistic self-mutilationtowards creative acts in which aesthetic expression becomes the medium for symbolic self-transformation.
Well written and researched.The book is extremely informative about self harm and helps to increase understanding of the motives behind people harming themselves. A good book to dip into for anyone working with clients who harm themselves for its valuable insights into the behaviour.