Liebmann, Marian

Using art with drama to bridge the gap of the unknown

Marian Liebmann

When we are faced with a problematic situation, art therapy can help us to articulate it, clarify it and make sense of it. We also often have an idea about how we would like the situation to resolve itself, but we have little or no idea how to get there. This workshop uses art therapy to articulate the situation and simple drama sculpts to bridge the gap between the problematic situation and the possible resolution. The results can then be translated back to the real-life situation.

The workshop will start with a ‘warm-up’ exercise involving mark-making and physical gestures. The main exercise asks participants to draw/ paint a problematic situation in their lives or that is well-known to them. This can involve an external situation or an internal conflict. Participants are asked to do a second picture of how they would like to see the situation resolved. These pictures are then shared in small groups.

Each group then chooses one person’s work to develop ‘drama sculpts’ with their bodies to represent both the problematic situation and the hoped-for resolution. This process involves considerable trust between group members. Then, leaving the real-life situation aside, they work on an intermediate drama sculpt to get from one state to the other. This addresses the common experience that people can often see where they would like to arrive but have difficulty working out how to get there.  The results are often surprising and can provide a ‘lateral-thinking’ way of making a first step. Participants are asked to reflect on how their intermediate stage could translate back into the real-life situation. The workshop will finish with small groups demonstrating their work to the rest of the participants.



Marian Liebmann qualified as an art therapist in 1979, and worked in art therapy with offenders, with women’s groups and community groups, and for 19 years in the Inner City Mental Health Team in Bristol, UK, where she developed work on anger, also with asylum seekers and refugees. She has lectured on art therapy at universities in the UK, Ireland, Eastern Europe and Baltic countries. She also works in restorative justice, mediation and conflict resolution, and has run Art, Conflict and Anger workshops in many countries. She has written/edited twelve books, including Art Therapy and Anger and most recently Art Therapy with Physical Conditions and Art Therapy with Neurological Conditions. In 2010 she was awarded her PhD by publications from Bristol University. In 2013 she was awarded OBE for contributions to art therapy and mediation. She currently works privately supervising art therapy and running art therapy workshops for various organizations.


Recent Publications

Liebmann, M. & Weston, S. (eds) (2015).  Art Therapy with Physical Conditions. Jessica Kingsley, London.  (Including chapter ‘Short-term Art Therapy Groups for People with Cancer’ (co-author))

Liebmann, M. (2016). Time-limited art psychotherapy in a community mental health team: Individual work and Time-limited group work in a community mental health team: A short-term art psychotherapy group for Asian women.  In: Hughes, R. (ed) Time-Limited Art Psychotherapy. Routledge, Oxon.

Liebmann, M. (2016).  Art therapy for anger management.  In: Rothwell, K. (ed) Forensic Arts Therapies: Anthology of Practice and Research. Free Association Books, UK.

Conference presentations

2017: Presentation ‘Art Therapy, Anger and Gender’ (long paper) at ECArTE conference, Sept 2017.

2017: Presentations and workshops on ‘Time-limited Art Psychotherapy’ at International Art Therapy Conference ‘From Muse to Psyche’, Bratislava 27-28 May 2017