Huss, Ephrat

Turning the inherent connections between social theories and art therapy into a methodology for practice and research

Ephrat Huss

This long lecture will provide a theoretical and a methodological framework for deeply integrating social theories into how we practice and research arts therapy.

Firstly, the lecture will outline a model of how to incorporate social critical theories into the therapeutic and artistic skill sets of arts therapists. This will expand existing definitions of arts and of therapy roles- practices and spaces.

Secondly, specific analytical methods for understanding arts through social theories will be presented, such as using the aesthetic tension between form and content, and between figure and background. This will show how to use arts to excavate socially silenced narrative. This will provide a clear methodology for deeply incorporating social prisms into the analytical methods of arts therapy- with individuals, groups and communities.

On the level of research, this lecture will show how the above can be used to co –create knowledge with clients, helping to destigmatize the self and the " other" and to turn people into experts of their own experience. More specifically, it will show how to use arts as subject, method, and end-product of research. 

Thirdly, this lecture will take these social theories and methods for arts therapy one-step further into community spaces -to become a way for clients to transform and impact both their personal but also their social realities that is often at the root of their problems. It will demonstrate how arts based methods can create places and spaces that help to negotiate the tension between homeostasis and change that is inherent to all communities and between communities. 

The paper will be interactive, including examples but also short arts activities that help to demonstrate the methods.

Overall, this lecture will show how arts therapy by definition, is a naturel medium through which to explore the aesthetic embodied socially embedded interactive relationship between personal identity and social context.
The lecture will demonstrate through specific methods, and protocols,  how Arts therapy have an inherent ability to re-focus on the strengths and resilience of marginalized groups, so as to shift static power infused ‘truths’ and define the other as an expert on himself. This is the unique contribution of arts therapy methodologies to social sciences and humanities. Conversely, the contribution of arts-based methods to art therapy is that it enables us to create evidence and an evaluative.  Implications of this are also to challenge and expand central art therapy ‘truths’ about what is art and what is therapy and help to adjust our theoretical and methodological lense to clients living in high context social realities.



Ephrat Huss is a Professor of Art Therapy and Social Work at Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Israel, where she heads an innovative MA social work specialization on arts  therapy for social practice. She has published extensively using arts-based research to access the experience of marginalized groups. She has published 4 books and over 70 articles on the interface between arts, therapy and social practice:

Recent Publications relevant to this paper

Huss, E. PI 2012. What we see and what we say: Using images in research, therapy, empowerment, and social change. London: Routledge. 180 pages.

Huss, E. PI (2015). A theory-based approach to art therapy: Implications for teaching, research, and practice. London: Routledge. 200 pages.

Huss, E. PI, & Boss, EPI. (Eds.) (2017). Figure in background: A handbook of arts’ use in social work practice. London: Routledge (in press) *Malka, MPI., & Huss, EPI. 2017. Using photo-voice with children of addicted parents. Arts in Psychotherapy. (CI ISI 2; CI GS 8; IF 0.695; JR 128/252; Q2 Clinical psychology).

Huss, EPI (2016). Arts as a methodology for connecting between micro and macro knowledge in social work. British Journal of Social Work. p.1–15 doi: 10.1093/bjsw/bcx008 (CI ISI=N/A, CI GS= N/A; IF= 0.771, JR= 12/60, Q1 Social work).

*Huss, EPI., Kaufman, RPI., Avgar, Ac., & Shuker, Ec. 2013. Arts as a vehicle for community building and post-disaster development. Disasters. (CI ISI 1; CI GS, IF 1.255; 28/55; Q3).

*Huss EPI. 2016. Toward a social critical, analytical prism in art therapy: The example of marginalized Bedouin women's images. Arts in Psychotherapy, 50, 84-90. (CI ISI 3; CI GS 4; IF 0.695; JR 128/252; Q2 Clinical Psychology).

*Huss EPI. 2016. PsycCRITIQUES Book review for the book: Art therapy theories: A critical introduction. PsychCRITIQUES publications. APA. (CI ISI N/A; CI GS N/A; IF N/A, JR N/A; Q N/A).

*Huss EPI. 2016. Creative use of visual arts within conflict resolution. The International Journal of Creativity and Problem Solving, 26(1), 51-69. (CI ISI N/A; CI GS N/A; IF N/A; JR N/A; Q N/A).

Huss, E. Braun-Lewinson,O; Ganayem,H ( 2018) Using Arts-based Research to Overcome the Mismatch between Western and Indigenous Forms of Coping of Bedouin Youth International Journal of Psychology( in press)


Goshen,I; Huss, E; Koch S (2019) Creating an Embodied Phenomenological Typology for Describing the Qualitative Experience of Traumatic Space from Continued Bombings, Journal of Loss and Trauma, DOI: 10.1080/15325024.2018.1507471

Huss E PI., & Zaccai, M PI. 2018. Man's relationship to flowers as an example of the multiple components of embodied aesthetics. Behavioral Psychology, 8(3), 32. doi:10.3390/bs8030032. (CI ISI=N/A; CI GS=N/A).

*Malka, MPI., Huss, EPI., Bendarker, L., & Musai, O. 2018. Using photo-voice with children of addicted parents to integrate phenomenological and social reality. Arts in Psychotherapy, 60, 82-90. (CI ISI=2; CI GS=8; IF=0.695; JR=128/252; Q2 Clinical psychology