Art Therapists as Intermediaries for Social Change

  • Jordan Potash University of Hong Kong Centre on Behavioral Health
Keywords: social change, art therapy, nonviolent resistance, exhibits, empathy


Although many art therapists are proponents of social justice and advocate for their underserved clients, they may not think of art therapy as a change agent for communities or societal ills such as discrimination and inequality. In this paper a proposal to infuse art therapy with the political philosophies and practices of nonviolent resistance may bring to light how art therapists can be a tool for advancing both individual and community change. Social change begins with generating empathy for others. Reaching out to the community through facilitating art exhibits may be one way to heighten empathy for client-artists. Guided relational viewing is proposed as a theoretical principle to motivate art therapists to move from being a proponent of social justice to becoming an agent of social transformation.