The standard approach in the research of creative arts therapies has been to adopt a scientific method of investigation. However, here Shaun McNiff argues that such a method should not be the only form of enquiry and that the creative arts themselves have for too long been absent from the profession's discourse about research. This text traces three principle themes: it seeks to promote a better understanding of the difference between scientific and artistic forms of knowing; it highlights a need for research methods and questions which derive from artistic experience and its application to therapy; and it proposes that using these methods should help to determine the place for conventional behaviour science research forms in furthering awareness of creative experience in therapy.
Sean McNiff has written what may be the most important expressive art therapy book of this decade. Art-Based Research presents a long-awaited model for studing the process of art making as therapy - whether it be visual arts, dance, music, or drama. Every page will excite and inspire its readers to think about how to conduct research on art therapy, music therapy, dance therapy and drama therapy as well as intermodal expressive therapy. Too long have the expressive arts therapies focused on the product of sessions with clients. Through this book McNiff has shown us that our knowledge of creative potential inherent to the arts holds the key to how the arts heal and guide us in developing research questions which will help us understand the creative process in therapy. Numerous examples and references from arts therapists will help the novice researcher in developing ideas and inspire the experienced researcher, deepening our understanding of why the arts therapies are powerful tools for healing. This volume will become a standard text in expressive arts therapy training programs throughout the world. -- Cathy Malchiodi, Director of the Institute for the Arts and Health in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Editor of Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association