A Portrait of the Male Art Therapist and the Overall Impact on Men Seeking Therapy

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Soard, Jonathan
Master of Arts in Art Therapy
The historical division of genders provides a parallax view of human development that is deeply rooted in world cultures. This pilot study explored this historical division and its influence on gender issues within the field of art therapy where men are underrepresented. Postmodern theories of intersectionality were applied to Eurocentric male privilege (EMP), within a current sociocultural drift away from a traditional heteronormative paradigm. Qualitative research methods were combined using a hybrid form of community based participatory research (CBPR), a process that more closely follows participatory action research (PAR) and heuristics to develop interview questions which were triangulated with reviewed literature. A group of eight individuals both students and practitioners in art therapy contributed their unique perspectives of men in the field which was distilled into a research portrait. Transcripts of recorded interviews were analyzed thematically to uncover patterns of perception and common themes related to men’s experiences in the field of art therapy. Participants were extended the opportunity to openly identify themselves within the research which presented unique ethical challenges. Participants highlighted a potential correlation between men's underrepresentation in the field of art therapy, experiences in art therapy education, and clinical work with clients. These findings may highlight the need for men to be recognized as a multicultural category within the field of art therapy for which cultural competence and humility should be emphasized.