Art Therapy and the Neuroscience of Relationships, Creativity, and Resiliency: Skills and Practices (Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology) (Hardcover)

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Presenting a neuroscientifically aware approach to art therapy.

Art Therapy and the Neuroscience of Relationships, Creativity, and Resiliency offers a comprehensive integration of art therapy and interpersonal neurobiology. It showcases the Art Therapy Relational Neuroscience (ATR-N) theoretical and clinical approach, and demonstrates how it can be used to help clients with autobiographical memory, reflecting and creating, touch and space, meaning-making, emotions, and dealing with long-term stress and trauma.

The ATR-N approach, first developed by Noah Hass-Cohen, is comprised of six principles: Creative Embodiment, Relational Resonating, Expressive Communicating, Adaptive Responding, Transformative Integrating, and Empathizing and Compassion (CREATE). The chapters in this book are organized around these CREATE principles, demonstrating the dynamic interplay of brain and bodily systems during art therapy.

Each chapter begins with an overview of one CREATE principle, which is then richly illustrated with therapeutic artwork and intrapersonal reflections. The subsequent discussion of the related relational neuroscience elucidates how the ATR-N work is grounded in research and evidence-based theory. The last section of each chapter, which is devoted to clinical skills and applications, integrates practices and approaches across all six of the CREATE principles, demonstrating how therapeutic art making can help people decipher the functional mystery of their relational nervous system, enhance their emotive and cognitive abilities, and increase the motivation to learn novel concepts and participate in a meaningful social discourse.

About the Author

Noah Hass-Cohen, PsyD, has developed a theoretical model for art psychotherapy. In her publications, and national and international presentations, she explores the advantages of therapeutic art making from an interpersonal neurobiology perspective. She highlights how sensory expressive practices can provide solid opportunities for softening relationships, increasing empathy, mending attachments, and repairing trauma. A practicing clinical psychologist, art therapist, and mindfulness teacher, she specializes in working with children, adolescents, and their families. Originally from Israel, Noah lives with her family in Los Angeles. Her preferred media is pastels. Faculty at the Couples and Family program at California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant University in Los Angeles, she can be reached at

Joanna Clyde Findlay, MA, ATR, is a marriage family therapist, artist, and registered art therapist. English by birth, Joanna has studied and practiced in London, Paris, and Los Angeles. She publishes and presents nationally and internationally on relational neurobiology and art therapy and has extensive teaching experiences at the graduate level. Joanna conducts trainings in the Jungian based Mari® Mandala© assessment tool and integrates family therapy, art therapy and mindfulness practices in her clinical work. As a multi modal artist, she has a committed yoga practice, which she has used with expecting mothers. Her artistic preferences include mixed media and sculpting with soft materials. She can be reached at

Dr. Lou Cozolino practices psychotherapy and consulting psychology in Beverly Hills, California. He received his PhD in Clinical Psychology from UCLA and an MTS from Harvard University. He has been a professor at Pepperdine since 1986 and lectures around the world on psychotherapy, neuroscience, trauma, and attachment. Dr. Cozolino is the Series Editor of the Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology (IPNB) and the author of ten Norton books, including the bestsellers The Neuroscience of Psychotherapy, 3rd Edition, The Neuroscience of Human Relationships, 2nd Edition, and The Making of a Therapist.

Praise For…

This new work clearly links attachment theory and clinical neuroscience research with art therapy, and it provides extensive examples of clinical applications, relational resonating, expressive communicating, adaptive responding, and transformative integration.

[I]deal as a reference volume for educators as they explore coursework in neuroscience and its related principles suggested in the revised educational standards by the American Art Therapy Association. . . . Perhaps the greatest strength of this is that it provides the fields of art therapy and neuroscience with necessary windows into collaborative research. . . . [T]his book provides a language for art therapists to use in communicating our innovative and effective ways of understanding the brain as a biopsychosocial and spiritual organ. . . . Art therapists very much need the information compiled by Hass-Cohen and Findlay to help us understand what it is that we do with science, how it is that we do it, and why it works.
— Art Therapy

[A]s helpful for learning about the brain and its various functions as it is for learning about art therapy. . . . [F]or those studying or practicing art therapy, or for a well-informed reader with a particular interest, it is difficult to imagine a more comprehensive text.
— PsychCentral

Having been doing art therapy for more than 50 years, I believed that I was familiar with the majority of theories informing our work. However, until I read this book, I did not fully appreciate the significance of neuroscience to our discipline. This thoughtful and carefully organized volume masterfully presents the vast literature from which it draws, and is teeming with information on interpersonal domains and art therapy. Most helpful is that the authors have also developed very creative clinical and pedagogical approaches to implementing and explicating their art therapy relational neuroscience approach.
— Judith A. Rubin, Ph.D., ATR-BC, editor of Approaches to Art Therapy: Theory and Technique

What a fascinating book! The authors apply a sophisticated knowledge of interpersonal neurobiology to the practice of art therapy, especially highlighting the activation and processing of relational schemas and other memories in the context of attachment neurocircuitry. Both intellectually stimulating and focused on real-world interventions, this book has dramatically increased my appreciation of the underlying neuroscientific basis of art therapy. This is an exciting, nearly quantum leap forward in our understanding of the power of expressive therapies.
— John Briere, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California

Hass-Cohen and Findlay have created a bridge that links art therapy and neuroscience in a creative and practical way. As an art therapy educator and clinician, this book is an invaluable tool for helping my students, clients, and their families understand how art therapy naturally aligns with systems of the brain to heal the mind. Their rounded approach is anchored as much in art and relationships as it is in empirically supported brain science. For art therapists who want to learn more about neuroscience but remain uncertain as to what such integration has to do with their daily work, this is an essential text. The authors do not rely upon neuroscience as a silver bullet for the legitimization of art therapy; they move beyond science-versus-art arguments towards collaborative frontiers that are still unfolding.
— Christopher M. Belkofer, Ph.D., ATR, LPC, Director, Graduate Art Therapy Program, Mount Mary University
Product Details
ISBN: 9780393710748
ISBN-10: 0393710742
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: July 6th, 2015
Pages: 496
Language: English
Series: Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology