The Art of Therapeutic Relationships: Art Therapy with Children & Youth

by Alexandra DeMasson

In this thesis I wish to share how a relational approach to art therapy can support children and youth in their therapeutic process. A main focus in this work is to create and establish the therapeutic alliance with the client. By offering and engaging a relationship of unconditional acceptance the child is able to develop and grow in dynamic ways, while also bringing to the surface what may be unresolved in order to find new ways to have relationship with those experiences and others. My methodology of art-based inquiry and narrative allows me to present these moments as vignettes using composite characters that are inspired by my real-life experiences. This unique way to present a study allows for not just one experience to be shared. Multiple clients have inspired this thesis and are portrayed through a few composite characters that I have created. It is my belief that this way of presenting the data will illuminate how a relational approach to art therapy can function with children and youth.