Individual Art Interviews with Adolescents

Judith A. Rubin, Ph.D., ATR-BC, HLM

In this film, Judith A. Rubin implements art-based questions to gain insight related to the human growth & development of adolescents. Through meeting with individuals one-on-one and showing curiosity about the art as well as the individual, Judy uncovers situational, transitional, and environmental factors underlying the youngster’s behavior. Interviewing adolescents in this way, with adequate training, can aid professional counselors and the counseling profession as a whole by offering art as a safe space for discussion of sensitive topics. One interview is with a boy of 17 and is an intake session where the art therapist was asked to provide an assessment of the youngster as well as recommendations for the treatment team at the outpatient clinic where he was seen. The client is offered a free choice of materials and topic, and ends up creating a powerful painting during which he is also helped to talk about the reasons why he agreed to try therapy. The other interview is with a girl of 16 who is asked to develop an image from a scribble drawing, and who then reflects on the image and its meanings for her. Both youngsters are articulate, yet it is clear that a great deal is revealed in their drawings and associations that they would have been unlikely to discuss or disclose spontaneously, supporting the hypothesis that images can disclose unconscious material that has not yet risen to consciousness in a relatively non-threatening manner.

From Eleanor Irwin, Ph.D., RDT, TEP:
“In this video, noted art therapist Judy Rubin conducts an initial diagnostic session with a young boy (17), illustrating self-exploration in an open-ended, semi-structured interview. After indicating the variety of available materials, Dr. Rubin sits quietly by as he selects watercolors and paper. Demonstrating a supportive yet sensitive observational stance, she makes few comments but waits for him to take the lead, and then together they discover the ideas and feelings depicted in his painting. At the end of the session, his mother joins them, further illustrating how to include a parent in the patient’s treatment.”

Total Running Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes, 38 seconds



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