Series Title: Rethinking Research and Professional Practices in Terms of Relationality, Subjectivity and Power

Art Psychotherapy & Narrative Therapy: An Account of Practitioner Research

Volume 1

eBook: US $21 Special Offer (PDF + Printed Copy): US $129
Printed Copy: US $119
Library License: US $84
ISSN: 2210-2833 (Print)
ISBN: 978-1-60805-167-0 (Print)
ISBN: 978-1-60805-118-2 (Online)
Year of Publication: 2010
DOI: 10.2174/97816080511821100101


This book is a personal, political and philosophical exploration of doing both therapy and research: an enquiry into how the process of therapy shapes the therapist as well as the client, and how the researcher is shaped by her research. A guiding theme is the proposal, following Foucault and Nikolas Rose, that psychotherapy is constituted, through forms of modern power, as a crucial contemporary site of both governance and resistance. As well as giving an account of the author's clinical and research practices as an art psychotherapist and narrative therapist, the book offers a highly readable introduction to poststructural theory and innovative social sciences methodologies, while expanding the understanding and practice of these theories and methodologies. The book embodies and performs what it describes, engaging readers far more strongly in complex theoretical material than is possible in an expository text. The poststructural, autoethnographic approach taken in this book is unique in the field of the arts therapies.

Indexed in: EBSCO, Ulrich's Periodicals Directory.


In this compelling, engaging and lovingly crafted book, Sheridan Linnell presents us with a very vivid account of practitioner research in the form of a ‘discursive hall of mirrors’. She portrays moments of intersection between the author’s life lived as a therapist, activist, feminist and ‘person’, and her contact with a rich reservoir of poststructuralist ideas and practices, illustrated with textually and visually poignant and politically purposeful accounts from therapeutic practice. Linnell uses a non-linear narrative form of ‘writing as inquiry’ to weave/embroider/wander nomadically across the landscapes of poststructuralist/therapeutic/arts-based research and practice. She has an excellent visual and textual story-telling ability, and I found myself reading late into the night in order to finish each chapter and get on to the next.

Sheridan Linnell has found a way of engaging readers with complex ideas that is clearly and even brilliantly articulated, yet without the suggestions of certainty or fixity that can often accompany such endeavours. The early chapters that offer the creative fiction of the department store (storeys) of poststructural/feminist/postcolonial theory are a delicious vehicle for interrogating these ideas. In later chapters we glance into a studio, a kitchen, an ethics of living, entering into spaces and relationships that are, by implication, highly nuanced exemplars of myriad other spaces and relationships and encounters. We are moved, touched by these stories and made uncomfortable.

This book stands as an original, indeed a unique contribution to the literatures on expressive therapies/art therapy, not the least because it situates these endeavours within a discursively constructed world of social engagement and political action. The effect of reading this book is different for each of us, and we are left with traces that may take seed, rather than findings or conclusions.