The Art Therapists’ Primer – A Clinical Guide to Writing Assessments, Diagnosis, and Treatment’
Book review by Jasmine Lam Shuk Yin
‘The Art Therapists’ Primer – A Clinical Guide to Writing Assessments, Diagnosis, and Treatment’ (The 3rd Edition) was published by Charles C Thomas Publisher Ltd. in 2020. It was edited by Ellen G. Horovitz, PhD., ATR-BC, LCAT, RYT 500, C-IAYT, who is a licensed art therapist/certified yoga therapist/ psychotherapist and registered yoga teacher. She is the Founder of the Art Therapy program at Nazareth College of Rochester and was awarded Professor Emerita in April 2017.
In the book, Dr. Ellen G. Horovitz has put together 20 articles by professionals in the creative arts therapy field as an essential source for art therapists to enhance clinical practice and to help communicate the profession within a multidisciplinary team. It has included resourceful appendices to help therapists track the efficacy of sessions to ascertain best practice.
With over 40 years of experience with various patient populations, the author emphasizes the importance to quantify qualitative assessments in art therapy. She has pointed out the reason why it is crucial to put more focus on assessments so as to gain empirical data for further reliability and validity to advance art therapy as a profession. In her book, she mentions the necessity of doing art-based assessments and introduces multiple examples of these assessments for readers to serve as a go-to guide.
One aspect I like about the book is that it includes comprehensive coverage on the summary of different assessment tools with illustrations on how to use them. It also explains the power of different tools to remind the moral and ethical standards therapists have to uphold before deciding which one to use with clients in different settings and contexts. Coverage on the development of the tools is helpful as it enables readers to learn more about the history and the insights it brings to their practice.
There is abundant information on assessment which is helpful for therapists to create clinical reports. With the systematic review of assessment tools, this book may be particularly beneficial for therapists professionally trained in the area. For those who do not have sufficient assessment training may require additional supervision to use the tools safely.
The book encourages art therapists to continue developing evidence-based practice to be informed clinicians. It can be used among educators as a teaching tool and is also insightful for therapists who are trained in using assessment tools to improve clinical skills and enhance reliability and validity in the field.