The uses of drawings and paintings with delinquent boys in an approved school

Ray, Pratul Ananda (1970) The uses of drawings and paintings with delinquent boys in an approved school. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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The material on which this study is based was collected between 1961-65 at Mossbank Approved School in Glasgow. It is a residential institution for boys, between the ages of 13 and 17, who are delinquents, maladjusted, emotionally disturbed or are in need of care and protection. A variety of means of expression have been integrated into the School's educational and social training programmes, and the School Art Club, the centre of this observational study, was an integral part of this plan. The method of drawing and painting cue techniques of free expression for therapeutic purposes has been an established form of psychotherapy for some years, and a wide range of patients, disturbed and mal-adjusted persons of all ages have been treated successfully by means of Art Therapy. But, as far as the present investigator knows, it has never been seriously employed with delinquent boys in an Approved School. Judged against this background, basically, the aims of the Art Club were more akin to those of a clinic than a club or class. Consequently, the boys art-works have been considered not as a deliberate and conscious expression of a personal reaction to something in the world of reality or imagination that has made a personal impact, but as a physical release of tension which cannot help but leave clues as to what caused it. The range and variaty of the Art-productions seem to indicate that in the activities of the Art Club, the boys found a genuine channel of expression for their fantasies, wishes, dreams and hallucinations. The activities of the Club invited and allowed them to express and share what they did not express before or had refused to share. Their artworks, by means of pictorial projection, seemingly encouraged a method of symbolic communication. It was found that, as they pictured their inner experiences, they frequently became verbally more competent and articulate, by producing free associations to their pictures they seemed to get rid of some of their basic inhibitions and usually developed a deeper insight into their own problems. Their art-works, as a result, instead of remaining a lonely monologue became meaningful mirrors in which they could find their own motives revealed. After having taken cognizance of the foregoing facts, this observational study has attempted to show that the pictures made by delinquent boys, voluntarily attending Art Club sessions, revealed the boys' personality tendencies, and that correspondence can be found between what their art-works express and what is obtained from a battery of personality tests, consisting of two projective (Rosensweig's Picture Frustration Study and Murray's Thematic Apperception Test) and two non-projective (Stott's Bristol Social Adjustment Guides and Stogdill's Behaviour Cards) and from the 25 pupils life histories. In terms of the results obtained, discussions on intelligence, the nature and types of maladjustment, delinquent behaviour and background experiences reaction to frustration and direct ions of aggression and nature of their fantasies were viewed in relation to the boys' art-works and personality tendencies as revealed by their pictures. In order to provide careful control of all subjective judgements and to give the readers some Idea of the confidence they could place in the analyses of the pictures set out, a panel of four judges was called in to work at a sample of the boys' original art-works (N 198) and rate the traits expressed in their art-productions. They were provided with a guide and the titles, chosen by the subjects themselves, of the pictures. But, no other material which could influence their objective judgements was made available. During the course of this investigation it was found that the pupils' works of art, like the personality tests, seemed to, besides expressing their needs and stresses and allowing characteristic conditions of mal-adjustment, record direction of personality, its motivational tendencies and the dynamic forces that guide an individual's behavior. The data thus collected seemed to throw some light on the psychodynamics and on the nature of the fantasy of delinquent boys, and also indicated that the tests and pictures have direct psychotherapeutic values of their own in that they might help the boys to secure release from repressed and hitherto unexpressed emotions and to gain insight concerning them. From a diagnostic and therapeutic point of view, this observational study seemed to show that the value of such a special Art Club was not only of benefit to the boys directly, but could also help adults to understand the pupils better and could, besides being a profitable adjunct to a comprehensive psychotherapeutic programme, provide information which otherwise could be obtained only by lengthy tests and interviews.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Adviser: R W Pickford
Keywords: Clinical psychology, Art education
Date of Award: 1970
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1970-73830
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2019 08:56
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2019 08:56

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