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Art Workshop



Sharon Snir, Irit Belity, Yael Domani, Liat Shamri-Zeevi and Michal Ulitzur-Zemel

Joint construction of the OATR observational tool for assessing the therapeutic relationship triangle in art therapy: encounter between theory and practice

According to theories of art therapy, there is a complex relationship between the three components of the therapist-client, client-artwork and therapist-artwork relationship triangle that simultaneously affect each other and the development of each one (Schaverien, 2000). This workshop will present the participatory research (Cargo & Mercer, 2008) which led to the development of an observational tool called the Observation in Art Therapy Relationships (OATR) that assesses the interaction between client and artwork and between the client and the therapist.

The OATR is based on conceptualizations in attachment theory that view therapeutic relationships as attachment relationships (Mallinckrodt, 2010).

The OATR was developed in two main stages. The first inductive stage consisted of collaborations between researchers and art therapists with years of experience in therapy and supervision which defined observable phenomena that may be indicative of relationship triangle in a therapeutic session based on a joint collaborative reflection group and ongoing observation of therapeutic sessions. The second was deductive, in which the phenomena defined in the inductive stage were structured into an observational tool. Including art therapists in the construction of the OATR and examining it in their therapeutic space contributes to its validity and reliability. The OATR can be used for clinical evaluation and as a research tool.

The first part of this workshop will present the development of the OATR. In the second part, participants will take part in a therapeutic simulation where they will be invited to use the OATR. This will be followed by a discussion and joint thinking about future uses and the clinical and research applicability of the OATR. The potential of collaborations with therapists will be stressed.


Cargo, M. & Mercer, S.L. (2008). The value and challenges of participatory research: Strengthening its practice. Annual Review of Public Health, 29, 325–350. doi:10.1146/annurev.publhealth.29.091307.083824
Mallinckrodt, B. (2010). The psychotherapy relationship as attachment: Evidence and implications. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships vol. 27(2), 262-270.

Schaverien, J. (2000). The triangular relationship and the aesthetic countertransference in analytical art psychotherapy. The changing shape of art therapy: New developments in theory and practice, 55-83.

Sharon Snir

Sharon Snir is an Art therapist (Ph.D.), and researcher. Associate professor and Head of the Art Therapy M.A. Programme at Tel Hai College. She specializes in research and teaching research methodology in art therapy. Her articles have been published in leading journals in the field of art therapy.

Michal Ulitzur-Zemel

Michal Ulitzur-Zemel is an Art therapist and psychotherapist, supervisor, lecturer and coordinator of the MAAT program and the practicum programme at David Yellin Academic College. Has a private clinic.

Recent Publications & Presentations

Elkayam, C., Snir. S. & Regev, D. (2020). Relationships between work conditions, job satisfaction and burnout in Israeli Ministry of Education art therapists. International Journal of Art Therapy.

Gerlitz, Y., Regev, D. & Snir, S. (2020). A Relational Approach to Art Therapy. The Arts in Psychotherapy.

Danieli, Y., Snir, S., Regev, D. & Adoni- Kroyanker, M. (2019). Suitability of the art therapy room and changes in outcome measures in the education system. International Journal of Art Therapy, 1-8.

Schwarz, N., Snir, S. & Regev, D. (2018). The therapeutic presence of the art therapist. Art Therapy, 35(1), 11-18.


2017: ECArTE – European Consortium for Arts Therapies Education. Art Based Intervention Questionnaire: the usage of a new instrument for research.

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