Crossing the Threshold: Rites of Passage, Art Therapy, and the Process of Change

by Gail Joy

This thesis examines change in the treatment of addictions using an art therapy process, relating it metaphorically to the process of epistemological and ontological change in rites of passage. Areas of comparison include sacred objects, ritual practitioners, stages, cultural context, and assumptions about change. The potential for change is particularly apparent in the liminal stage during rites of passage and the therapeutic space of art therapy. The theoretical comparison is illustrated in a single case study of a man who attended art therapy for treatment of his alcohol habit. The case study uses a retrospective review of pictures in which the art is displayed as in a gallery. The comparison yields enough substantial and significant similarities for rites of passage to serve as a metaphor for the change in art therapy treatment.